Naval Swiss Army Knife: MK 41 Vertical Missile Launch Systems (VLS)
February 22/18: FMS Clearance Finland has been cleared for the foreign military sale of Mk 41 Baseline VII Strike-Length Vertical Launching Systems by the US State Department. Valued at an estimated $70 million, the sale includes four vertical launching systems, spares, handling equipment, test equipment, operator manuals and technical documentation, US Government and contractor engineering, training, technical, and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical support. Lockheed Martin will act as lead contractor. The systems will be integrated on Finland’s upcoming fleet of four new corvettes, and follows a series of FMS clearances earlier this month for naval weapons as part of an ambitious naval modernization program.
The naval MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) hides missiles below decks in vertical slots, with key electronics and venting systems built in. A deck and hatch assembly at the top of the module protects the missile canisters from the elements, and from other hazards during storage. Once the firing sequence begins, the hatches open to permit missile launches of various types. It is also being adapted for land use, as part of the USA’s plan to forward-deploy ballistic missile defense in allied countries.
The Mk.41 is the most widely-used naval VLS in the world, in service with the US Navy and with many countries outside the United States. Lockheed Martin is the system’s prime contractor, with components and canisters provided by BAE Systems Land & Armaments. In September 2011, however, the US Navy assumed the final integrator role.
A Naval Swiss Army Knife: The MK 41 VLS
The Housing: VLS Cells
The Blades: Canisters & Inserts
MK 41 VLS Contracts
FY 2009- 2010
FY 2006 – 2007
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