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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Saudi MMSC Purchase Moving Forward

Saudi Arabia will receive four vessels produced by Lockheed Martin.

On March 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Lockheed Martin a $481.2 million contract for the production of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) vessels. These will be produced for Saudi Arabia.

According to the contract press release, the contract is expected to be completed by October 2024.

The U.S. originally announced the approval of the sale of the four MMSC vessels to Saudi Arabia in October 2015. However, several months later, Riyadh rejected the U.S. offer of $4 billion for the ships, indicating that the price was too high and that the delivery time was too long.

The two continued negotiations thereafter and the MMSC sale was part of an arms package offered to Saudi Arabia by the Trump administration, during President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia last year.

Lockheed Martin's MMSC is a derivative of the firm's Littoral Combat Ship, which has a length of 118 meters. The MMSC can travel at speeds over 30 knots and has a range of 5,000 nautical miles.

A Lockheed Martin fact sheet on the MMSC notes that its combat suite includes a
57mm Mk110 deck gun and SeaRAM, and expands multi-mission capability through integration of Over-The-Horizon surface-to-surface missiles, port and starboard 20 mm remote guns, a new fire control radar and a forward centerline 8 cell MK 41 Vertical Launch System equipped with RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles. The MMSC is also equipped with the AN/SLQ-25 Torpedo Defense system.

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