Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)
Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)

Lockheed Wins $147 Million for Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, Baltimore, Maryland, was awarded a $147,639,775 undefinitized contract action modification to previously-awarded contract N00024-20-C-5310 for the procurement of MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) vertical launcher module electronic components. This modification provides the electronic components for MK 41 VLS, which is installed onboard Navy surface combatants (CG-47 and DDG-51 class ships) and multiple allied Navy platforms. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.

MK 41 VLS stores, selects, prepares and launches standard missiles, Tomahawk, Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket and Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles. Work is expected to be completed by March 2025. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (65%); and the governments of South Korea, Finland and Germany (35%) under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Fiscal 2018 and 2019 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy); and FMS funding in the amount of $29,527,952 was obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

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Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)
Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)

The Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk 41 VLS) is a shipborne missile canister launching system which provides a rapid-fire launch capability against hostile threats. The Vertical Launch System (VLS) concept was derived from work on the Aegis Combat System. Refinement of the initial concept of Aegis system in the 1960s continued through the 1960s and 1970s, and the Mk 41 was conceived in 1976. Originally, the system was only intended to fire the RIM-66 Standard missile, but the height of the Mk 41 was increased to accommodate the larger Tomahawk missile. The prototype for the launcher was tested and evaluated on board USS Norton Sound (AVM-1). The first operational launcher was installed aboard USS Bunker Hill.

The Mk 41 is capable of firing the following missiles: RIM-66 Standard, RIM-67 Standard, RIM-161 Standard Missile 3, RIM-174 Standard ERAM, RGM-109 Tomahawk, RUM-139 VL-ASROC, RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, and RIM-162 ESSM.The missiles are pre-loaded into “canisters”, which are then loaded into the individual “cells” of the launcher. The ESSM is loaded in a quad-pack with 4 missiles in one Mk 25 canister, older types of 8 cell modules are not able to use ESSM. Launcher cells are fitted to ships in 8 cell modules that share a common uptake hatch sited between the two rows. The height of the launcher comes in three sizes: 209 inches for the self-defense version, 266 inches for the tactical version, and 303 inches for the strike version.

Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)
Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS)
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