A “Cut Steel” event marked the start of production for the first Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ship on Oct. 24 at Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM). The MMSC is a tailored littoral combat ship variant being built for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the U.S. Navy’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
Launch of the production of first Multi Mission Surface Combatant MMSC for Saudi Arabia 925 001Multi-Mission Surface Combatant MMSC. (Picture source Lockheed Martin)
Cut Steel symbolically recognizes the initiation of construction efforts for the more than 4,000-metric-ton MMSC. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin and its shipyard partner, FMM, have been working on the MMSC design with the U.S. Navy since 2017. Four MMSC ships will be constructed at FMM, with significant economic benefits expected for the region.
Representatives from the U.S. Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Forces — partners in this international endeavor — attended the event. The program manager for the U.S. Navy’s International Small Combatants Program Office (PMS 525), Todd Tompkins, observed that “in this shipyard that has produced so many U.S. Navy Freedom-variant littoral combat ships, the MMSC is the first ship based on an LCS variant to be built for a foreign partner.” He added that “this event marks the culmination of years of collaboration between our countries.”
Also present were representatives from the offices of Wisconsin lawmakers U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, as well as Wisconsin State Sen. Dave Hansen and Marinette Mayor Steve Genisot.
PMS 525, in the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants, is assigned to lead and manage efforts related to the acquisition of small surface combatants, such as MMSC, for international customers.
The Lockheed Martin MMSC (Multi-Mission Surface Combatant) is a derivative of the US Navy’s Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). It was selected for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces’ (RSNF) multi-mission surface combat ship requirement.
The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) is a lethal and highly maneuverable multi-mission surface combatant capable of littoral and open ocean operation. It was designed from the keel up to confront modern maritime and economic security threats.
Paired with world’s most advanced maritime helicopter, the MH-60R SEAHAWK, the MMSC will have a robust anti-submarine mission capability that is fully interoperable with the U.S. Navy and its coalition partners.
The MMSC utilizes the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, built from the Aegis Combat System Software library. The MMSC integrated combat system solution leverages the domestic LCS integration of the 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.
Operational and deployed today with the U.S. Navy as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones, the MH-60R SEAHAWK® helicopter is the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter. It is the most capable naval helicopter available today designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.