The United States government has recently approved of the potential sale of four Lockheed Martin Freedom-class ship variants to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia will be using these ships in order to create the core for their Royal Saudi Navy’s Eastern Fleet. This foreign military sale, which is estimated to be valued at $11.25 billion, will include four Lockheed Martin Freedom-class variants which will come equipped with five COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems (4 installed, 1 spare), five Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) UPX-29 (4 installed, 1 spare), five Compact Low Frequency Active Passive Variable Depth Sonar (4 installed, 1 spare), as well as many more associated systems, munitions, and weapons. All of this equipment will serve as the basis for the Saudi Naval Expansion Program II (SNEPII), which is a program estimated to be valued at $20 billion in order to update the weathered United States-built Saudi fleet which is currently operating in the Persian Gulf.
“This acquisition will enhance the stability and maritime security in the sea areas around the Arabian Peninsula and support strategic objectives of the United States,”read the State Department notification which was issued on Tuesday morning.
“The proposed sale will provide Saudi Arabia with an increased ability to meet current and future maritime threats from enemy weapon systems. The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships will provide protection-in-depth for critical industrial infrastructure and for the sea lines of communication.”
The final tonnage of the Saudi Arabian variant is still undetermined at the moment, though Lockheed Martin has offered a variety of sizes of the Freedom class for foreign sales.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to provide the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with four multi-mission surface combatants (MMSC), based on the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship,”read a statement from Lockheed Martin.
“We look forward to working with both navies in developing a low-risk, cost effective approach that delivers value back to the customers.”
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