Lockheed Martin [LMT] anticipates the first foreign sale of its international version of the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship sometime this year, a company executive said Friday.
Joe North, vice president for littoral ship systems at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training unit, said the interested country is a Southeast Asian nation but would not provide further details.
The company is also close to a deal with an unnamed Middle Eastern country, but it could take longer because it would have to go through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales program, North said.
The combined purchase would include 14 of the vessels the company markets internationally as the Multi-mission Combat Ship.
The hulls are built by partner Marinette Marine in Marinette Wisconsin. Lockheed Martin is offering the Multi-mission Combat Ship in various lengths–85, 118 and 150 meters. Lockheed Martin’s Freedom variant of the Littoral Combat Ship for the U.S. Navy is the midsize version.
Austal USA builds the Independence variant of the LCS and features a trimaran hull. The Freedom is a monohull. Both ships for the U.S. Navy have modular designs to allow for swappable mission packages for mine countermeasures, and surface and anti-surface warfare.
The Multi-mission Combat Ship is meant to be a fixed set of capabilities based on the demand on the international market, North said.
The first LCS, USS Freedom (LCS-1), was on an eight-month deployment to Singapore last year, a deployment that allowed the Navy and Lockheed Martin to demonstrate the ship’s capabilities to other nations. The second of the same variant, the USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), is expected to depart for a longer deployment to the region later this year. The LCS class is designed to operate in coastal waters.
North said more than a dozen countries have shown interest in the Multi-mission Combat Ship, and Lockheed Martin has previously predicted it could fetch sales of at least 50 on the international market.