By Carlo Munoz

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. –Navy officials working a potential sale of the service’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to the Saudi Arabian navy plan to have a formal pricing availability proposal to Riyadh by the end of this month, a senior service official said this week.

The proposal will include pricing information for per unit and bulk buys of the next-generation warship, LCS Program Manager Capt. Jeff Reidel said on Monday, shortly after his speech at the Navy League’s annual Sea Air Space symposium here.

That information will synch up with the design and development information for both the Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Austal USA ships expected to be sent to Saudi Arabia this summer, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told Congress last month.

Furthermore, Mabus reiterated the importance of cooperation and integration with navies across the globe during his keynote speech here on Monday. Foreign ships already go to sea alongside U.S. vessels as part of the Navy’s carrier strike groups and the Navy partners with over 25 other nations on missions ranging from ballistic missile defense to anti- piracy operations, according to Mabus.

Foreign navies, he added, are conducting maritime operations with their American counterparts Ïday in [and] day out,” the service secretary said. Aside from cooperation, continued procurement of U.S. military hardware by foreign countries will only serve to reinforce those ties, he added during his speech Monday.

Foreign navies Ïare buying our ships, they are buying our weapon systems÷so we can be interoperable,”

Mabus said. ÏWe are stronger together than we are apart.”

Talks over U.S. sales of Navy hardware to the Saudis began in 2008, when Riyadh began exploring procurement options for the Saudi Naval Expansion Plan II (SNEP II), an effort to expand the country’s eastern fleet.

If finalized, the United States could potentially sell between $10 billion to $20 billion in equipment to the Saudi fleet. Along with an LCS variant, both countries had also discussed sales of the Navy’s MH-60R helicopter built by Sikorsky [UTX], the Boeing [BA] P-8 Poseidon intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft and Northrop Grumman‘s [NOC] MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned drone, according to news reports at the time.

To that end, Lockheed Martin is eyeing a 40 to 45-aircraft sale of its MH-60 helicopter to the Saudis, as part of SNEP II, the company’s Vice President for Business Development Paul Lemmo said during an April 8 briefing with reporters at the company’s offices in Arlington, Va.

General Dynamics [GD] is also looking get a piece of the SNEP II deal, pitching an international version of its open architecture-based command and control system, known as Open CI, which is currently in use aboard the Austal USA variant of LCS.

ÏThe Navy is clearly offering the LCS to the Saudis…that case is very active, and clearly we are looking to get our system out to whatever the Saudi requirements evolve out to,” Chris Montferret, director of surface navy programs for General Dynamics, said during an April 9 interview.