A little noticed December contract award for the missile launchers used as part of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Combat System gives hints to the direction of a potential $20 billion U.S. naval arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

Included in the initial $235 million award from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) — with options to increase the award to $356.79 million — to Lockheed Martin for an unspecified number of MK 41 Vertical Launching Systems included a contract option to set aside 26.3 percent of the funds — or about $93.8 million of the $356.79 million — for Saudi Arabian VLS.

“The MK 41 VLS provides a missile launching system for [Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruisers (CG-47)] and [Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer (DDG 51)] class surface combatants, surface combatants of allied navies, and Aegis Ashore requirements for the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground Ballistic Missile Defense Program,” read the Dec. 12 award announcement. […]