The U.S. Navy awarded a Lockheed Martin-led team, which includes Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM), a multi-billion dollar (USD) order for the construction of four Multi-Mission Surface Combatants ships, as part of the country’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
These ships will be for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Fincantieri will build the ships at the Marinette yard in Wisconsin, recently visited by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. The now-definitized contract has a total value of approximately $1.3 billion dollars (USD) for Fincantieri Marinette Marine.
The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant is a lethal and highly-maneuverable, multi-mission surface combatant, which features the flexibility of the Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship steel mono-hull, built by the same team for the US Navy (9 LCS vessels have been delivered and there are currently 7 ships in various stages of construction), an increased range of 5,000 nautical miles and speeds in excess of 30 knots, making it capable of littoral and open ocean operation, and able to confront modern maritime and economic security threats.
Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “Orders such as these, besides being very significant from an economic point of view, mark themselves for important industrial aspects. This result caps off a remarkable work, which has brought us to consolidate an unparalleled reputation also in the US market, known to be very complex. It also is an acknowledgement of the strategic, technological and management skills that Fincantieri is able to express always to the highest level and in any context”.
Lockheed Martin and FMM, together with the naval architect Gibbs & Cox and over 800 suppliers in 42 states, are already cooperating for the US Navy’s LCS program, one of the most ambitious in the world within the surface ships.
Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG), which owns Fincantieri Marinette Marine and two more yards again in the Great Lakes region, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding and Fincantieri Ace Marine, since 2008 has invested more than 180 million dollars to modernize the Wisconsin shipyards, hiring and training more than 1,000 people, with a total workforce in the three sites of about 2,500 people and more than 350 contractors.
Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC)
The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) is a highly maneuverable and armed multi-mission surface combatant vessel capable of littoral and open-ocean operation.
The MMSC takes the proven capabilities of the U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the inherent flexibility of the Freedom-variant hull to meet the unique maritime requirements of international navies.
The vessels will have a range of 5,000 nautical miles and can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots. It will be based on the Freedom-variant LCS’s 118-meter hull and it will utilize the same combined diesel and gas (CODAG) propulsion system.
The MMSC utilizes the COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System, built from the Aegis Combat System Software library. The MMSC integrated combat system solution leverages the domestic LCS integration of the 57mm Mk110 deck gun and SeaRAM missile system, and expands multi-mission capability through integration of Over-The-Horizon surface-to-surface missiles, port, and starboard 20 mm remote guns, a new fire control radar and a forward centerline 8 cell MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) equipped with RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). The MMSC is also equipped with the AN/SLQ-25 Torpedo Defense system.
Paired with one of the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter, the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk, the MMSC will have robust anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability that is fully interoperable with the U.S. Navy and its coalition partners.
MMSC for Saudi Arabia
The FMS sale of the MMSC ships to Saudi Arabia was approved by the U.S. State Department in October 2015. The sale also included associated equipment, parts and logistical support with a total value estimated at $11.25 billion.
On Oct. 24, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) hosted a “Cut Steel” event marking the start of production for Saudi Arabia’s first Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ship at its facility in Marinette, Wisconsin.