Saudi Arabia May Purchase Two Turkish Vessels

Saudi Arabia may be gearing up for a purchase of two Turkish vessels soon.

Following a Defense News report earlier this month that stated Saudi Arabia may purchase Turkish naval vessels, the military news outlet reported on May 10, 2017 that the country was soon to complete a deal for two MILGEM corvettes or frigates.

Each vessel would cost between $300 million and $500 million, according to Defense News, which cited a Turkish official in the procurement office. Riyadh is believed to be interested in acquiring at least two.

Defense News reported on May 3, 2017 that Turkey was soon to complete a deal with Saudi Arabia. Citing a source, that report noted “the deal may involve naval platforms.”

Saudi Arabia is likely to buy an Istanbul class (I-class) frigate, a variant on the Ada corvettes that Pakistan is negotiating to buy. The former displace around 3,000 tons while the latter displaces 2,400 tons.

Together with the planned sale to Pakistan, the two contracts are expected to be worth a combined $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

The apparent Saudi contract comes as the U.S. has sought to rekindle negotiations over a sale of naval vessels to Saudi Arabia. Citing Reuters, W4T reported on May 5, 2017 that “The Trump Administration is looking to push an arms sale to Saudi Arabia during a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump to the kingdom later this month.”

The systems involved in the potential sale include “the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, C2BMC battle command software system, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, M109 artillery, multi-mission surface combatant vessels, and precision-guided munitions (PGMs).”

It is unclear if the purchase of Turkish vessels would impact the United States’ proposed sale. Notably, the model of vessel that the United States is offering displaces around 3,600 tons. The sale has previously been approved, but Saudi Arabia rejected the price tag, setting the negotiations back but reportedly not ending them outright.

Riyadh has also been cited as a potential customer for five Avante 2200 corvettes from Spain, which have a displacement of around 2,200 tons.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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