UPDATED: Lockheed Martin Awarded Design Contract for Saudi Frigates

July 19, 2018 11:41 AM - Updated: July 20, 2018 3:56 PM
Artist’s concept of a Lockheed Martin Multi-Mission Surface Combatant. US Navy

This post has been updated to include additional information on the contract award.

Lockheed Martin Corp. has received a $450 million award for complex design work and some long-lead materials for the construction of four new frigates for the Royal Saudi Arabian Navy, part of the kingdom’s multi-billion dollar shipbuilding plan.

This new contract modifies a November deal, where Lockheed Martin was awarded a $22.74 million contract to adapt the design of its Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship into a more heavily armed frigate concept for use by the Saudi Arabian navy. USNI News has previously reported the frigate concept will not include the LCS modular mission functions, but does bulk up its armaments.

In March, the company received a $481 million award for the bulk of the long-lead materials.

“The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant is a lethal and highly maneuverable surface combatant capable of littoral and open ocean operation,” according to the Department of Defense contract notice.

The Lockheed Martin contract is part of the Foreign Military Sales program run by the Department of Defense, which serves as an intermediary between contractors and foreign governments.

These new frigates are intended to be the core of the long-anticipated 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.

Saudi Arabia has also recently inked a roughly $2 billion deal to build out more of its upgraded fleet, according to media reports. Saudi Arabia is buying five Avante 2200 corvettes from Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, according to a story reported by Paris-based Navy Recognition. Construction is set to start this year and Saudi Arabia expects to accept delivery of its last ship in 2022.

The corvettes will be built in Spain. Lockheed Martin builds the Freedom-class LCS variants at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Marinette, Wisc., but the company has not yet specified where the Saudi Arabian frigates would be built.

Ben Werner

Ben Werner

Ben Werner is a staff writer for USNI News. He has worked as a freelance writer in Busan, South Korea, and as a staff writer covering education and publicly traded companies for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Savannah Morning News in Savannah, Ga., and Baltimore Business Journal. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree from New York University.

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