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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Saudi Arabia Orders French Patrol Vessels

Saudi Arabia has reportedly completed a contract for the acquisition of three patrol vessels from French firm CMN.

La Tribune reported on January 2, 2018, that Saudi Arabia had made a first deposit for the purchase of three FS56 patrol boats. The total contract is estimated to be valued at 250 million euros.

There is no official confirmation on the completion of the sale.

Saudi Arabia initially signed a contract on the sale of the vessels in 2015, seeking to supply the ships to the Lebanese Navy as part of a multi-billion dollar package of support for that country's military. However, Riyadh terminated its support package for Lebanon early in 2016, amid Saudi frustrations with the Lebanese response to a diplomatic standoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Rather than supply the vessels to Lebanon, Saudi Arabia opted to procure the vessels for its own Navy.

The FS56 ships could come armed with the Simbad-RC air-defense system, but, according to La Tribune, an agreement for that will need still need to be negotiated. That system is manufactured by MBDA.

According to manufacturer CMN, the FS56 is a development on the Combattante III class fast attack craft. The ship is 56 meters long and can reach a top speed of 38 knots. Alongside a surface-to-air missile launcher, the ship can be armed with a 76mm or 57mm main gun, up to two 30mm remote controlled side guns, and a surface-to-surface missile system.

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