With the U.S. Navy just three weeks ago fronting cash ($15 million each) for five different frigate designs for the new FFG(X) Guided Missile Frigate concept, one of the companies, Lockheed, just pulled down a big bonus that could help.
You see, LM just picked up a plump $481 million contract for long lead work on four of what they term Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ships for the Royal Saudi Navy. The MMSC? An uparmed version of the company’s Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship which is very similar to one of the five proposals greenlighted for the USN’s FFG(X) contract.
MMSC has a range of 5,000 nautical miles and can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots, packs the basic armament of the LCS (57mm Mk110 deck gun, MH-60 Seahawk, UAVs, and SeaRAM) but adds Over-The-Horizon surface-to-surface missiles (8 Harpoons are shown on the sketch), port and starboard 20 mm remote guns (Mk.38 25mms could be substituted), a new fire control radar and a forward centerline 8 cell MK 41 Vertical Launch System equipped with 32 quad-packed RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles. The MMSC is also equipped with the AN/SLQ-25 Torpedo Defense system.
The Freedom-variant FFG(X) uses the same hull as the LCS and the MMSC but includes a mini-SPY style phased array, a set of Mk.32 ASW torpedo tubes and upto a 32-cell VLS. But who’s to say the company won’t leverage the work going on simultaneously on MMSC when it comes to the cut for the FFG(X) winner…