Saudi Arabia buying Lockheed’s LCS under $6 billion deal: report

Illustration: US Navy LCS USS Milwaukee during sea trials. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Saudi Arabia and Lockheed Martin have reached a $6 billion deal for the acquisition of four littoral combat ships, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report said that the signed letter of agreement included a better-armed version of the Freedom-variant LCS Lockheed Martin’s industry team is building for the U.S. Navy.

The export variant of the U.S. Navy LCS is referred to as the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) by Lockheed Martin.

An official announcement on the agreement or any confirmation of it could be expected to come as early as Saturday, Bloomberg wrote citing persons familiar with the deal.

The acquisition of littoral combat ships is part of the Saudi Arabian government’s naval modernization program and the sale of the four ships had already been approved by the US State Department in 2015.

The approved possible arms sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia included four MMSC ships that would include COMBATSS-21 combat management systems with five TRS-4D radars. Also included were eight MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) (two eight-cell assemblies per ship for 16 cells per hull) and 532 tactical RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM).

Saudi Arabia also requested a possible sale of Harpoon launchers, MK-15 Mod 31 SeaRAM CIWS and MK-75 76mm OTO Melara Gun Systems.

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