IMPS - Maritime Security

GDA 2017: Saudi LCS programme nets contract

6th December 2017 - 12:12 GMT | by Richard Thomas in London

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The reported deal to sell up to four Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) to Saudi Arabia looks to be gaining momentum following a US DoD contract award in December to Lockheed Martin to support the FMS programme.

In a contract released issued in late November, the DoD stated that Lockheed Martin is to be awarded a $22 million modification to a previously awarded contract ‘to exercise an option for class services’ in support of FMS programme for the LCS. Work is expected to be completed by July 2018.

Saudi Arabia agreed a $110 billion package of deals with US defence companies following the visit to the kingdom of President Donald Trump in May. 

The country is undergoing a significant revamp of its armed forces, including its navy. Under its Saudi Naval Expansion Programme II efforts, its fleet will be augmented with the Lockheed Martin variant of the LCS.

Saudi Arabia splits is naval procurement strategies between its western and eastern fleet, with one being comprised of mainly US equipment while the other maintain European equipment.

A FMS approval announcement made by the US DSCA in 2015 stating that Saudi Arabia could procure four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships, together with associated logistics and support in a deal worth $11.25 billion.

The MMSC class were stated to be ‘a derivative of the Freedom variant' (pictured) of the LCS.

Other equipment such as Mk41 VLS, Harpoon shipboard launchers, Mk15 CIWS, Mk75 76mm OTO Melara main guns and more than 1,000 missiles of varying types were requested at the time.

Link 16 communications equipment to be installed onboard the LCS/MMSC vessels was also sought by Saudi Arabia.

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