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Saudi Arabia gets State Dept. OK for $11.25B combat ship deal

Saudi Arabia is seeking to procure U.S.-made combat ships through the Foreign Military Sales program.

By Richard Tomkins
Saudi Arabia gets State Dept. OK for $11.25B combat ship deal
Lockheed Martin's Multi-Mission Combat Ships. Lockheed Martin image.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia has received U.S. State Department approval for the purchase of four Multi-Mission Combat Ships from the United States.

Notification of the proposed $11.25 billion sales package was transmitted to Congress by the U.S. Defense Cooperation Security Agency, which manages the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

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"The proposed sale will provide Saudi Arabia with an increased ability to meet current and future maritime threats from enemy weapon systems," DSCA told Congress. "The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant Ships will provide protection-in-depth for critical industrial infrastructure and for the sea lines of communication.

"Saudi Arabia will use the enhanced capability to keep pace with the rapid advances in technology and to remain a viable U.S. coalition partner in the region."

The four multi-mission ships are derivatives of Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships of the U.S. Navy.

Included in the proposed deal are COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems for the vessels, TRS-4D Radars, Identification Friend or Foe systems, Compact Low Frequency Active Passive Variable Depth Sonars, MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems and 532 tactical RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles.

DSCA said AN/SWG-l (V) Harpoon Ship Command Launch Control Systems, Harpoon Shipboard Launchers, and 48 Harpoon Block II Missiles are also included, as well as 188 RIM 116C Block II Rolling Airframe Missiles, various gun systems, sensors, spare parts and logistics support.

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"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security goals of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic regional partner, which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East," the agency said.

Lockheed Martin would be the principal contractor for the ships.

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