Lockheed Martin to build four warships for Saudi Arabia

Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1.96 billion detailed design and construction to build four warships for Saudi Arabia, according to a recent contract announcement.

The four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships are based on the Lockheed Freedom-class design and will be built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Marinette, Wisc. The ships are expected to begin delivering in 2023.

The ships are part of the overarching Saudi Naval Expansion Program II, a plan in the works for more than a decade to upgrade the kingdom’s Eastern Fleet. Ultimately, USNI News understands Saudi Arabia plans to spend up to $20 billion on new ships, with approximately $6 billion earmarked for the frigate program built by Lockheed Martin.

The Friday award follows one from last year of $450 million that set out the first complex design contract for the quartet of combatants.

The new Saudi ships will be built around an eight-cell Mk-41 vertical launch system and a 4D air search radar. The deal also includes 532 Raytheon RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM) which can be loaded four to a Mk 41 cell. With 16 cells per hull, the Saudi Freedoms will be able to potentially field 64 anti-air missiles per-ship.

At about 4,000-tons, the frigate can field a crew of 100 to 130. It runs on a power plant of two Rolls Royce MT-30 gas turbines and two Colt-Pielstick diesel engines. The ship will field eight RGM-84 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles (ASM), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar suites, and torpedoes.

The FMS case was announced in 2015 after years of negotiating between the U.S., the Saudi government and several defense contractors.

The following is the complete Dec. 20, 2019 contract announcement.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Baltimore, Maryland, is awarded a $1,955,776,266 fixed-price-incentive firm target modification to a previously awarded contract N00024-18-C-2301 for the detail design and construction of four Multi Mission Surface Combatant ships (MMSC). The awarded contract includes associated cost-plus-fixed-fee class design and related material and firm-fixed-price integrated data environment. The MMSC is based on the freedom variant of the Navy Littoral Combat Ship class, and is being procured by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) under the auspices of the Navy’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The detail design and construction of four Multi Mission Surface Combatant ships is part of the Foreign Military Sales agreement between the U.S. and the KSA. This sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the U.S. by helping to improve the security of a strategic regional partner. Only foreign military sales funds from the KSA will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will be performed in Marinette, Wisconsin (50%); Washington, District of Columbia (17%); Baltimore, Maryland (9%); Moorestown, New Jersey (7%); Clearwater, Florida (2%); Beloit, Wisconsin (1%); Salt Lake City, Utah (1%); Pascagoula, Mississippi (1%); Fitchburg, Massachusetts (1%); Hampton, Virginia (1%); areas outside the U.S. (8%); and other areas in the U.S. (2%), and is expected to be complete by June 2026. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.