Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been awarded $282 million for design and materials for the construction of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships and associated weapons and equipment for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The contract, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, falls under foreign military sales, with work expected to run through October 2025. KSA FMS funding of $124.2 million has been obligated to the company upon award. The contract falls under a sale approved by the State Department in 2015 totaling over $11 billion for the ship class.
The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant is a variant of the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship being developed to meet the requirements of the KSA for a light surface combatant with anti-surface, anti-submarine and air warfare capabilities. It will have the same hull and propulsion systems of the Freedom-class, giving it a range of over 6,000 miles and a top speed of over 30 mph.
The MMSC will use a derivative of the AEGIS Combat System currently deployed on air warfare ships like the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and many allied surface combatants.
The MMSC will mount an 8-cell Mk 41 vertical launch system for Evolved Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles for shooting down incoming missiles and enemy aircraft. ESSMs can be "quad-packed" with four missiles to a VLS cell, allowing the MMSC to carry 32 of them for air defense. It will also carry two port-and-starboard Close In Weapons System 20mm rotary cannons for point-defense.
The ships will be armed with the Bofors 57mm cannon used on the LCS for anti-surface and anti-aircraft engagements and is planned to mount the Naval Strike Missile, the proposed replacement of the aging Harpoon anti-ship missile.
For anti-submarine work it can carry a MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and deploy hull-mounted, towed-array and dipping sonars for detecting and tracking enemy undersea targets. It will also have an AN/SLQ-25 torpedo decoy system.