The U.S. Navy has officially awarded a Lockheed Martin-led team a multi-billion dollar contract to construct four warships for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The four Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships will be constructed at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin, where the Navy’s Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships are constructed. The 118-meter MMSCs will be a tailored version of the Freedom-variant LCS.
The ships will be sold to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of the United States’ Foreign Military Sales program.
Fincantieri Marinette Marine’s portion of the contract is valued at $1.3 billion, Fincantieri said.
Prime contractor Lockheed Martin and FMM, as Lockheed’s shipyard partner, have been working together on the MMSC design with the U.S. Navy since 2017. The steel mono-hulled vessels will have an increased range of 5,000 nautical miles and can achieve speeds of more than 30 knots.
A steel cutting event for the first MMSC ship was actually held back in October 2019.
“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,” commented Todd Tompkins, Program manager for the U.S. Navy’s International Small Combatants Program Office.
“This event marks the culmination of years of collaboration between our countries,” Tompkins added.
Fincantieri Marinette Marine is owned by Fincantieri Marine Group, the United States subsidiary of the Italian shipbuilding group Fincantieri.