The US Navy has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to provide MK41 vertical launching systems (VLS) for its DDG 51 Class Aegis destroyers.

Under the $80.2m firm-fixed-price contract, the company will also provide launcher spares, upgrade kits and installation equipment.

The MK41 VLS is a missile launch system that is installed below deck on surface ships to respond to existing and emerging warfare threats.

The missile system provides the warfighter with the capability to fire a range of missiles including anti-air, anti-submarine and surface-to-surface.

More than 12,000 VLS missile cells have been delivered to 12 navies worldwide and the system has been installed on 186 ships in 19 different ship classes.