Fairbanks Morse engines to power Royal Saudi Navy frigates

Fairbanks Morse has been awarded a contract to deliver eight high-powered diesel engines to power four frigates for the Royal Saudi Navy.

Multi-mission surface combatant; Photo: Lockheed Martin

As informed, the purchase is a part of the Saudi Naval Expansion Program II which has been in the works for over a decade with a cost of about $20 billion.

The frigates that the engines will be powering are based on the Freedom-class littoral combat ship (LCS) used by the US Navy.

The two 16-cylinder FM | Colt-Pielstick PA6B STC diesel engines per ship will deliver over 12 MW of propulsion power and are said to be among the largest medium speed diesel engines manufactured in the United States. The engines will begin to be manufactured in early 2019 with delivery scheduled for September 2020, according to Fairbanks Morse.

Each engine will be built at the Fairbanks Morse manufacturing facility in Beloit, Wisconsin.

In May 2017, the US Navy and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia inked a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for MMSC quartet. This agreement represents the first sale of a US-built surface combatant to another nation in more than 40 years.

“The proposed sale will provide Saudi Arabia with an increased ability to meet current and future maritime threats from enemy weapon systems. The Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships will provide protection-in-depth for critical industrial infrastructure and for the sea lines of communication,” a US State Department notification reads.