January 16, 2013
Credit: Credit: U.S. Navy
Lockheed Martin sees good prospects for selling new coastal warships and helicopters it is building for the U.S. Navy to other countries, especially given a planned U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, company executives said on Tuesday.
The U.S. Navy’s plans to send Lockheed’s first Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS-1, to Singapore in mid-April, could deepen international interest in the new warship, said Michele Evans, vice president of business development for Lockheed’s mission systems and training business.
“When LCS gets over in the region, we might see more momentum and acceleration,” Evans told Reuters at a conference hosted by the Surface Navy Association. She said she was optimistic that an initial foreign military sale could be reached within the next two years.
Lockheed and other U.S. weapons makers are scrambling to increase foreign military sales to maintain revenue in coming years as they brace for cuts in U.S. military spending after sharp growth over the past decade.
Lockheed’s upbeat view comes as its first LCS ship, the USS Freedom, a steel single hull vessel, prepares for a six-week voyage to Singapore, where it will be deployed for nine months.
Unlike earlier warships, littoral combat ships can operate in shallower coastal regions, have smaller crews and can be easily reconfigured for different missions, such as surface warfare or mine-hunting.
The U.S. unit of Australia’s Austal is also building a separate LCS ship for the U.S. Navy, based on an aluminum trimaran design.