Naval Swiss Army Knife: MK 41 Vertical Missile Launch Systems (VLS)
November 22/19: Upgrade Lockheed Martin won a $86.4 million contract for the repair, upgrade or replacement of the MK-41 Vertical Launch System. MK 41 is a fixed, vertical, multi-missile storage and firing system that lets Navy vessels launch significant firepower. The capability of VLS to simultaneously prepare one missile in each half of a launcher module allows for fast reaction to multiple threats with concentrated, continuous firepower. The Vertical Launching System (VLS) Mk 41 is a canister launching system which provides a rapid-fire launch capability against hostile threats. The missile launcher consists of a single eight-cell missile module, capable of launching SEASPARROW missiles used against hostile aircraft, missiles and surface units. Primary units of the VLS are two Launch Control Units, one 8-Cell Module, one 8-Cell System Module, a Remote Launch Enable Panel and a Status Panel. Work will take place in California, Florida, Maryland, and Mexico. Estimated completion will be by November 2024.
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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