Saudi Arabia Seeks Navy Buildup to Face Iran

 

Saudi Arabia has recently shown interest in medium-sized U.S. warships as part of its naval buildup to counter Iran, particularly surface vessels capable of countering asymmetric and air threats.

This is a key element in Riyadh’s program known as Saudi Naval Expansion Program II, worth as much as $23 billion over 10 years, which saw the light of day after the 1990-91 Gulf War triggered by Iraq’s conquest of Kuwait.

The U.S. Navy disclosed April 8 that Riyadh’s Ministry of Defense and Aviation had asked Washington for surface warships with integrated air and missile defenses, helicopters, patrol craft and base infrastructure, such as hardened command centers, docks and training facilities.

The Navy said it could probably put together a rough cost estimate by May.

As far as is known, the Saudis made no mention of specific classes of ship. But they have long been interested in the U.S. Littoral Combat Ship, a corvette-size warship, but want it to be armed with Lockheed Martin’s Aegis air-defense system.

There are two U.S. LCS designs, both fast and maneuverable to counter asymmetrical operations such as those that the naval wing of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is known to favor.

They carry two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters and Mk 110 57mm guns and have a top speed of 47 knots.

Lockheed Martin has the Independence-class version, while the Freedom-class ship is built by General Dynamics. Both variants are in service with the U.S. Navy for evaluation.

No U.S.-built medium surface craft is currently armed with Aegis. But Lockheed Martin’s vice president for business development, Paul Lemmo, has said his company would offer a multi-role version of its LCS built by its maritime systems division, possibly fitted with Aegis.

The potential size of the initial Saudi order is likely to be around a dozen vessels. It’s likely that U.S. shipbuilders would offer a new frigate-class ship armed with Aegis rather than an LCS.

The only frigate types equipped with Aegis are Norway’s 5,200-ton Nansen class and Brazil’s 6,200-ton Bazan class.

These are designed for deep water operations, while the Saudis are looking more at vessels to be used in the shallower and more restricted waters of the Gulf, across which any Iranian naval threat would come.

It’s entirely possible that the field could be widened to include non-U.S. vessels if the Americans cannot produce what Riyadh wants.

It is not clear whether Riyadh’s SNEP requirements fall within the $67 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia proposed by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama in October 2010.

That sale, with deliveries over 15-20 years, covers 84 Boeing F-15S fighters, upgrades for another 70 currently in Saudi service, General Dynamics Land Systems Abrams M1A2 tanks and more than 120 helicopters.

It is the largest arms sale in U.S. history and has a naval component that is believed to involve advanced helicopter-carrying Offshore Patrol Vessels. That could include the new LCS ships.

Saudi Arabia’s 13,500 man navy has two fleets, one, the bigger of the two, based at Jubail on the kingdom’s eastern coast on the Persian Gulf; the other western fleet in the Red Sea headquartered at Jeddah.

The western fleet’s primary mission in the event of hostilities would be protect Saudi Arabia’s oil export facilities which are concentrated on the gulf coast in the Eastern Province.

It would also have to ensure, along with the naval forces of other Gulf Arab states, that the chokepoint Strait of Hormuz, the only way in and out of the Gulf, is not closed by the Iranians and a fifth of the world’s oil supplies cut off.

The Saudis have also indicated they planned to upgrade their marine and naval special forces, again largely to counter potential threats from Iran.

Right now, the Royal Saudi Naval Forces’ principal combat ships are three French-built al-Riyadh-class destroyers armed with MM-40 Exocet anti-ship missiles and four Madina-class F3000 La Fayette stealth frigates built by France’s DCN yards in Lorient.

Riyadh at one point considered acquiring 6-8 submarines, with a price tag of $4 billion-$6 billion. But the program was shelved

However, Iran has four Russian Kilo-class submarines, so the Saudis will have to maintain, if not beef up, their anti-submarine warfare capability.

(officialwire)

Source: officialwire, April 13, 2011;

Share this article

Follow Naval Today

2 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia Seeks Navy Buildup to Face Iran”

  1. Pingback: Bang Bang Bang

Comments are closed.

Events>

<< Sep 2016 >>
MTWTFSS
29 30 31 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 1 2

Maritime Reconnaissance and Surveillance Technology 2017

Maximising Maritime Situational Awareness Capabilities for the Safety and Protection of International Waters

Gold Sponsor: PAE
Sponsored by: exactEarth

More Info

After last year’s huge success the SMi Group is proud to announce the 2nd Maritime Reconnaissance and Surveillance Technology. The event will be held in Rome on the 30th and 31st of January 2017.

Based on the success of the 2016 conference, we aim to replicate and improve by providing a more regional focus, not just on the Mediterranean, but other areas of interest including the Black Sea and further beyond in the Asia Pacific region. All of which have keen collective interest on ensuring the safety and security of legitimate maritime activities.

This high level meeting will bring together senior military leadership, project decision makers, technical experts and cutting edge industry solution providers to explore future endeavours that will enhance the security and stability of the world’s oceans.

The 2017 programme will:

  • Provide a wider regional focus outside of the Mediterranean where challenges are also persistent
  • Feature high ranking military personnel involved with the enhancement of maritime surveillance platforms and systems
  • Present a running theme on the importance of information sharing as operations are increasingly conducted at an international level
  • Include Informal networking time to talk to peers and colleagues also shaping and influencing Maritime ISR programs today
  • Allow learning on how other nations are developing their maritime surveillance and reconnaissance provision from past experience and cutting edge research and development
  • Get to the heart of challenges faced by modern maritime forces such as capability gaps and what requirements they now have

HOST NATION KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:

  • Rear Admiral Giovanbattista Raimondi, Chief of C4 and Security Department, Italian Navy
  • Rear Admiral Nicola Carlone, Chief of Operations, Italian Coast Guard
  • Colonel Sergio Cavuoti, Chief of the Intelligence and Awareness Policy Branch of the Air Staff Aerospace Planning Division, Italian Air Force

REGIONAL EXPERT SPEAKERS:

  • Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, EU Navfor Med Operation Commander, EU Naval Force
  • Commodore William Ellis, Commander CTF-67, US Naval Forces Europe
  • Captain Jan De Beurme, Chief of Staff, Belgian Navy
  • Captain Fernando Angelo, Director, Navy Intelligence Analysis Centre,  Portuguese Navy 
  • Wing Commander Richard Berry, P-8 Poseidon Program Manager, Royal Air Force
  • Commander Michael Sela, Head of C5I Branch in the R&D department, Israeli Navy
  • Commander Pasi Staff, Chief of Surveillance, Finnish Navy
  • Commander Hannes Schroeder-Lanz, Branch Chief C4ISR, Germany Navy
  • Guy Thomas, Director, C-SIGMA
  • Gerard O’Flynn, Head of SAR Ops, Irish Coast Guard
  • Leendert Bal, Head of Department C Operations, European Maritime Safety
  • Joachim Beckh, Technical Working Group Chair, MARSUR
  • Vice Admiral (Ret’d) Peter Hudson, Former Commander, NATO MARCOM

 

HOW TO REGISTER:

EALYBIRDS AVAILABLE:

BOOK BY 30TH SEPTEMBER TO SAVE £400

BOOK BY 31ST OCTOBER TO SAVE £200

BOOK BY 30TH NOVEMBER TO SAVE £100

Register online at: www.maritime-recon.com/navaltoday or email Justin Predescu on
jpredescu@smi-online.co.uk

 

read more >

EURONAVAL 2016

Euronaval 2016 in Paris, is one of the leading international trade shows for maritime security, safety and naval defense…

read more >

Naval Mission Systems Technology

Integrating Naval Assets to Ensure Enhanced Maritime Operations and Support.

Navies are constantly looking at how the collection and dissemination of data from marine helicopters, UAVs, radars and shore based sensors through C2 systems can be improved to produce an accurate, clear, and all-encompassing picture of the maritime theatre for allied forces.

The complexity associated with effectively coordinating the variety of operations of these systems means that interoperability between all systems, divisions, and nations is of paramount importance. Therefore, SMi’s Naval Mission Systems Technology Conference will explore the strategies and technologies required to develop next generation capability in this vital area of national defence.

The expert speaker panel includes: Italian Navy, U.S. Navy, NATO Modelling and Simulation Center of Excellence (M & S COE), BAAINBw, The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), University College London and many more.

More info

read more >

Exponaval 2016

EXPONAVAL and TRANS-PORT have become established as one of the most important international naval defence and maritime fairs in Latin America…

read more >