Freedom, Lockheed Martin Corp frigate to Saudi?

Saudi Arabia is in advanced discussions with the U.S. government about buying two frigates based on Freedom a coastal warship [LCS] that Lockheed Martin Corp is building for the U.S. Navy,

September 29 2014 Philippine Bilateral Exercises start near Scarborough Shoal, seized by Chinese]

Joint air and marine exercises "Philippine Bilateral Exercises," or Phiblex, of Philippines and U.S marine units began on Sepember 29 near disputed waters in the South China Sea, testing the readiness of the two oldest security allies in the southeast Asian region to respond to any emergency.

China has expanded its territory in the Gaven, Johnson South, Cuarteron and Chigua reefs in the Spratlys, reclaiming land to build islands to assert its claims.

The Philippines has monitored the presence of more than 120 Chinese warships and fishing boats in the Spratlys in the first half of 2014, establishing firm control over disputed areas.

China seized control of Scarborough Shoal, a rocky outcrop north of the Spratlys, in June 2012 after a three-month standoff with the Philippines, denying Filipino fishermen access to the rich fishing ground.

In the Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines has also reported the presence of an increasing number of ships, from 11 in the last quarter of 2013 to 34 in the first quarter this year.Two U.S. amphibious ships, USS Peleliu and USS Germantown, are participating in the exercises. Besides simulating boat raids and beach assaults, they will feature aerial live fire, mechanized armor maneuvers and parachute drops.

Annual war games are being held under the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT), part of a web of security alliances the United States built in the Asia-Pacific region during the Cold War.

[April 5 2013 USS Freedom: LCS bound for Singapore, nothing to do with North Korea]

  The U.S.’ littoral combat ship USS Freedom is en-route to Singapore for temporary deployment as part of the country’s recent military shift toward Asia. Such a shift can further strain relations with China, which is in territorial dispute with its neighbors. A brand new class of ship the USS Freedom is one of just two littoral class combat ships of the U.S. Navy and it pulled into Guam's waters this morning to dock at the Apra harbor. The USS Freedom carries with it two smaller boats that it can launch from two doors in it's rear or aft. These boats carry special interdiction teams trained to board vessels. Commander Timothy Wilke says it's deployment has nothing to do with recent threats from North Korea.

Before it can do that however, the $670 million ship has to get there. The USS Freedom has suffered three blackouts so far in its transit between Hawaii and Guam. As reported by Aviation WeekThe most recent two this week — including one March 21 — brings the outage total to three, all during the ship’s transit from Pearl Harbor to Guam en route to Singapore, says U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Darryn James. The outage problems appear to be similar to those the ship suffered during a deployment in the Atlantic when the vessel was first pressed into Navy service, a source intimately familiar with Freedom operations says.
Other than not being able to keep the lights on, the guns on the USS Freedom are also reported not to work properly, and her helicopter is too small to perform mine-sweeping. Additionally  the Navy has admitted in a recent report that the “LCS is not expected to be survivable…” in combat. 

[March 4 2011]

Northrop Grumman-built MQ-8B Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV) flew its first test flights from the U.S. Navy's littoral combat ship, USS Freedom (LCS-1).
The U.S. Navy in the last week of 2010 awarded contracts to industry teams led by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics to build one Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) with options for nine more over the next five years, as well as technical data packages and support services. Total value of the Lockheed Martin award is $491.9 million; the General Dynamics team contract is for $465.4 million. Saudi Arabia has expressed an interest in Freedom Class vessel, LCS-I
Suppression of enemy air defense for a no-fly zone is done with strike fighters or bombers. This means that any sort of no-fly-zone will have to be enforced by NATO allies, most likely England, France and Italy. There haven’t been any talks about increasing the number of ships near Libya but rather there have been discussions about repositioning naval assets already there. On March 8 that there were no plans to move the carrier Enterprise now in the Red Sea, around a day-long cruise from the Mediterranean. 

 [April 5 2013]U.S.Navy F/A-18 Warplanes have been sent To Philippines For Military Drills. "There will be table top exercises on how the militaries of the two countries would respond to a destructive typhoon as well as in the event of a major ship collision on the high seas," Garcia said, adding the combat aspect would showcase the capability of the U.S. Navy's multi-role fighters The F/A-18 Hornet, an all-weather aircraft, is used as an attack aircraft as well as a fighter. In its fighter mode, the F/A-18 is used primarily as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense; in its attack mode, it is used for force projection, interdiction and close and deep air support. The presence of the warplanes is not connected to tensions on the Korean peninsula, a Philippine army spokesman said.

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