Russia Builds Nuclear-Powered Icebreakers the Size of WWII Battleships for $750M, Lockheed Needs $500M for a Frigate
8x the size of frigates in question
Lockheed Martin has won a contract to build 4 frigates for Saudi Arabia for $2 billion:
The Navy announced Friday that Lockheed Martin was awarded a $1.96 billion contract to build four multi-mission surface combatants for Saudi Arabia.
The ships, which are slated to be built at Fincantieri’s Marinette Marine shipyard in Wisconsin, are derived from the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship design.
The contract announcement was posted on the Defense Department’s website Friday night.
“The awarded contract includes associated cost-plus-fixed-fee class design and related material and firm-fixed-price integrated data environment,” the announcement said.
That is $0.5 billion per a 4,000-ton frigate.
Russia meanwhile earlier this year ordered two more Arktika-class icebreakers for $1.5 billion:
The hulls of the Arktika’s sister vessels, the Ural and the Sibir, have also been launched by the Baltic Shipyard, and are likewise named for earlier Russian nuclear icebreakers that have been retired. Two more vessels in the line, which have yet to be named, are scheduled to launch in 2024 and 2026, according to a $1.47 billion government tender published in August.
That is $0.75 billion for a 33,000-ton nuclear-powered icebreaker capable of smashing through ice 3 meters (9 feet) thick.
The lesson here aside from that buying from the US defense sector is dear and that Saudis get especially crappy prices (25 percent over what the US paid for Littoral Combat Ships) is that comparing US and Russian defense and non-defense budgets at exchange rates doesn’t make sense.
A ruble simply buys so much more in Russia than the exchange rate would suggest.