Naval Swiss Army Knife: MK 41 Vertical Missile Launch Systems (VLS)
December 11/18: Canisters BAE Systems Land & Armaments is being contracted to deliver several missile canisters to the US Navy. Worth $41.5 million, the firm-fixed-price modification sees for the delivery of Mk 21 mod 2 and Mk 21 mod 3 canisters used on the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). The mod 2 and 3 variants support SM-2 and SM-6 missiles respectively, and are used on the Mk 41 VLS strike length system that accommodates the widest variety of missiles. The canisters serve as missile shipping and storage containers. During missile launch, they provide an internal launch rail and help contain the rocket motor’s exhaust gas. Work will be performed at BAE’s facilities in Aberdeen, South Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota. The canisters are expected to be completed by August 2021.
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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