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Israel and Saudi Arabia are examining the future Littoral Combat Ship's capabilities but have not committed to buying any ships, according to a U.S. Navy official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The official stressed that the United States is not in negotiations with the countries to sell them ships. For now, the interactions are “basically just discussions,” the official said. Many countries have inquired about the LCS since the Navy began development, but Israel and Saudi Arabia seem to be the most interested countries so far, the official said.
Any LCS sales to U.S. allies would help promote interoperability and reduce costs for the U.S. Navy, during a time when the Defense Department is facing budget pressures, the official said. The Navy conceived the LCS as a relatively low-cost ship, with a target price for each hull of roughly $220 million.
Capt. Tom VanLeunen, a spokesman for the Navy's acquisition chief, confirmed that the Navy has signed a letter of agreement with a country to conduct a study of the LCS design, and other countries have shown interest too. But he declined to comment on the names of the countries.