By Andy Sambidge
Gulf kingdom approaches United States over interest in ordering 30 boats for navy
Saudi Arabia is interested in ordering 30 patrol boats and associated equipment from the United States in a $1.2bn deal.
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale to the Gulf kingdom of 30 Mark V patrol boats and equipment, parts, training and logistical support.
The order would also include 32 27mm guns, the Agency said in a statement.
"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of Saudi Arabia which has been, and continues to be, an important force for stability in the Middle East," the statement said.
"This sale of Mark V patrol boats will give the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) an effective combat and threat deterrent capability to protect maritime infrastructure in the Saudi littorals," it added.
"This acquisition will enhance the stability and security operations for boundaries and territorial areas encompassing the Saudi Arabian coastline," the Agency also said.
The purchase of Mark V patrol boats represents an upgrade and modernisation of the RSNF’s existing patrol boat capability.
The patrol boats will provide additional capability to rapidly identify, engage, and defeat maritime security threats in the near-offshore region of the Saudi littorals.
The boats will be used primarily to patrol and interdict intruders in Saudi territorial seas, and recognised economic exclusion zones.
The principal contractor for any forthcoming contract has not yet been determined, the statement said.