Saudi Arabia has turned down a US Navy offer to build four frigates based on the Lockheed Martin littoral combat ship (LCS) design, sources familiar with the situation said, but the move is thought to be part of a continuing negotiation over price and schedule, not a rejection of the overall deal.

The Saudis were responding to a Nov. 22 US Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LoA) that contained more specific details of the deal, which was announced by the US Department of State on Oct. 20.

The ships are known as the Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC), based on the LCS but armed with surface-to-air missiles and a more robust combat system. The MMSC is the largest element of the Saudi Naval Expansion Program II (SNEP 2), a major effort to replace and modernize the kingdom’s eastern fleet that operates in the Persian Gulf. […]