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Saudi Arabia’s government will receive four corvette-sized small surface warships from Lockheed Martin Corp., within the framework of a $451 million order. Saudi Arabia chose the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces multi-mission surface combat ship program.
The MMSC can counter maritime threats in the open ocean, as well as along coasts in inside harbors. It can handle anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-air warfare, mine warfare, electronic warfare (EW), and special operations.
The MMSC is a variant of the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class littoral combat ship (LCS) that can be configured with a variety of sensors and weapons that help enable interoperability among U.S. naval forces and those of allied navies during joint operations.
Officials of the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington are asking the company to buy long-lead materials and continue designing the MMSC for Saudi Arabia. According to militaryaerospace.com, long-lead materials are difficult and time-consuming to obtain, and are funded early in the ship design process to keep overall production on schedule. Contracts to build the four MMSC combat ships will come later.
The MMSC will feature the company’s combat management system (CMS) to integrate the ship’s sensors, communications, and armament. Sensors will include a TRS-4D surveillance and target acquisition radar, a modern fire control radar, a multi-function phased array radar, an identification friend or foe (IFF) system, towed hull-mounted and dipping sonars, and a compact low-frequency active and passive variable-depth sonar.
The ship will have a large flight deck at the rear to accommodate an MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission maritime helicopter. It also will have a large hangar to accommodate the MH-60R helicopter, as well as and two unmanned helicopters.