London: The US government has approved the potential sale of up to four warships to Saudi Arabia, along with weapons, training and logistics support. Lockheed Martin Corp. is the principal contractor in the $11.25 billion deal, which is still being negotiated.
US lawmakers were notified of the potential sale by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign military sales. On Tuesday, the agency published the deal’s details on its website. The actual ships, weapons and other hardware included in the proposed transaction amount to $4.3 billion, with the rest of the funds going to engineering, logistics and training portions of the program.
The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant the new warships would be based on Lockheed’s Freedom-class littoral combat ship (LCS) design. Radar, sonar and fire-control systems would be included in the sale, along with a full armament suite.
The proposed sale will enhance the stability and maritime security in the sea areas around the Arabian Peninsula and support strategic objectives of the United States, the Pentagon said in the announcement, describing Saudi Arabia as “a strategic regional partner. The sale of the new US ships “will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” the Pentagon added.