Military


Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships

The US State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) Ships and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $11.25 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on October 19, 2015.

The Government of Saudi Arabia requested a naval modernization program to include the sale of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships and program office support. The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant program would consist of:

  • Four (4) MMSC ships (a derivative of the Freedom Variant of the U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Class) that incorporate five (5) COMBATSS-21 Combat Management Systems (four (4) installed, one (1) spare) with five (5) TRS-4D Radars (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)
  • Five (5) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) (Mode 4- and Mode 5-capable) UPX-29 (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)
  • Five (5) Compact Low Frequency Active Passive Variable Depth Sonar (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)
  • Eight (8) MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLS) (two (2) eight-cell assemblies per ship for 16 cells per hull)
  • Five-hundred thirty-two (532) tactical RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM) (one hundred twenty-eight (128) installed, twenty (20) test and training rounds, three hundred eighty-four (384) spares)
  • Five (5) AN/SWG-l (V) Harpoon Ship Command Launch Control Systems (four (4) installed (one (1) per ship), one (1) spare)
  • Eight (8) Harpoon Shipboard Launchers (two (2) installed four-tube assemblies per ship)
  • Forty-eight (48) RGM-84 Harpoon Block II Missiles (thirty-two (32) installed, sixteen (16) test and training rounds)
  • Five (5) MK-15 Mod 31 SeaRAM Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)
  • One-hundred eighty-eight (188) RIM 116C Block II Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) (forty-four (44) installed, twelve (12) test and training rounds, one hundred thirty-two (132) spares)
  • Five (5) MK-75 76mm OTO Melara Gun Systems (four (4) installed, one (1) spare)
  • Forty-eight (48) 50-caliber machine guns (forty (40) installed (ten (10) per ship), eight (8) spares); ordnance; and Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) Global Positioning System/Precise Positioning Service (GPS/PPS) navigation equipment

Also included in this sale in support of the MMSC are: study, design and construction of operations; support and training facilities; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communications equipment employing Link 16 equipment; Fire Control System/Ceros 200 Sensor and Illuminator; 20mm Narwhal Gun; Nixie AN/SLQ-25A Surface Ship Torpedo Defense System; MK-32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes; WBR-2000 Electronic Support Measure and Threat Warning System; Automatic Launch of Expendables (ALEX) Chaff and Decoy-Launching System; ARC-210 Radios; Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS); Automated Digital Network System; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

In addition, this case would provide overarching program office support for the SNEP II to include: U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support, and other related elements of program support to meet necessities for program execution. The estimated value of MDE is $4.3 billion. The total estimated cost is $11.25 billion.

This proposed sale would 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. This acquisition would enhance the stability and maritime security in the sea areas around the Arabian Peninsula and support strategic objectives of the United States.

The proposed sale would provide Saudi Arabia with an increased ability to meet current and future maritime threats from enemy weapon systems. The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships would provide protection-in-depth for critical industrial infrastructure and for the sea lines of communication. Saudi Arabia would 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 proposed sale of this equipment and support would not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The principal contractor for the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant would be Lockheed Martin Corporation of Bethesda, Maryland. There are no known offset agreements in connection with this potential sale.

In January 2016 Saudi Arabia rejected an offer from the US Navy to build four frigates – the latest move in an ongoing negotiation over price and schedule. The ships, known as the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC), were the largest part of Saudi Arabia's $16 billion plan to replace and modernize the kingdom's eastern fleet in the Persian Gulf. The modernization plan includes the four frigates, along with six smaller corvette-sized ships, all operating Lockheed Martin Sikorsky MH-60R helicopters. The helicopters are to cost $1.9 billion. A number of smaller vessels and aircraft also were in the plan.

Negotiations had been underway between Washington and Riyadh over the MMSC package, which includes weapons, logistics, training and other services. Reportedly, the Saudis balked at the $11.25 billion price tag for the MMSC package and were unhappy with the time it would take to complete detail design of the ships, carry out systems integration, build the vessels, deliver them and install infrastructure improvements in the kingdom. The first ship would be delivered in about seven years, which the Saudis reportedly think is excessive. Washington was expected to return to the bargaining table with counter offers.



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list


 

privacy policy