The US State Department has approved a planned sale of four Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) worth $11.25 billion to Saudi Arabia.
The Pentagon is notifying the sale to congress. The approval allows the Saudis to negotiate contracts for the ships unless Congress passes legislation to block the deal, the Bloomberg news reported Monday.
The sale is a part of US plan to bolster defenses of its Gulf allies after the nuclear deal with Iran, an unnamed official said.
The ships are part of a planned modernization, replacing older US-built vessels in the Royal Saudi Navy’s Eastern Fleet. The sale also begins to deliver on President Barack Obama’s pledge to improve the military capabilities of the US’s Arab allies.
Saudi Arabia and other nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council sought such reassurances before acquiescing to the US-led deal with Iran on its nuclear program.