MARINETTE, Wis. --- A “Cut Steel” event marked the start of production for the first Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC) ship on Oct. 24 at Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM). The MMSC is a tailored littoral combat ship variant being built for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the U.S. Navy’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
Cut Steel symbolically recognizes the initiation of construction efforts for the more than 4,000-metric-ton MMSC. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin and its shipyard partner, FMM, have been working on the MMSC design with the U.S. Navy since 2017. Four MMSC ships will be constructed at FMM, with significant economic benefits expected for the region.
Representatives from the U.S. Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Forces — partners in this international endeavor — attended the event. The program manager for the U.S. Navy’s International Small Combatants Program Office (PMS 525), Todd Tompkins, observed that “in this shipyard that has produced so many U.S. Navy Freedom-variant littoral combat ships, the MMSC is the first ship based on an LCS variant to be built for a foreign partner.” He added that “this event marks the culmination of years of collaboration between our countries.”
Also present were representatives from the offices of Wisconsin lawmakers U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, as well as Wisconsin State Sen. Dave Hansen and Marinette Mayor Steve Genisot.
PMS 525, in the Program Executive Office for Unmanned and Small Combatants, is assigned to lead and manage efforts related to the acquisition of small surface combatants, such as MMSC, for international customers.