Navy officials confirmed Monday that 13 new missile-equipped patrol and chase boats are being built for the Saudi Arabian Navy, and their crews will be trained at the Little Creek amphibious base. As many as 500 Saudis will be in Tidewater at the peak of the program.
Saudi Navy crews have trained since 1975 at Little Creek, one of the US Navy's largest amphibious and small-boat warfare training centers. But the new program will mean the largest influx of Saudi Arabians ever.
The program is part of the US government's effort to maintain friends in the oil-rich, unstable Mideast.