BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the US Navy to develop canisters capable of storing, transporting and launching a wide range of missiles.
Under the $40m firm-fixed-price contract, BAE will deliver different canisters, including the Mk14 Mod 2 for Tomahawk long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missiles and Mk21 Mod 2 for standard missile 3 (SM-3) missile systems.
The company will also provide Mk21 Mod 3 canisters for SM-6 missiles, as well as Mk25 Mod 0 units for the evolved SeaSparrow missile (ESSM), a medium-range, high-speed, all-weather, all-aspect, semi-active guided missile.
In addition, BAE will provide ancillary hardware and associated support equipment, as part of the contract, which also has options for additional annual contract awards.
BAE Systems Weapon Systems vice-president and general manager Chris Hughes said: "BAE Systems has a long-standing canister production franchise built on delivering world-class canisters to the US Navy, helping our sailors accomplish their missions more safely and effectively."
If all options are exercised, the contract will have a period of performance from 2013 through to 2019 and is expected to be valued at $400m, while Naval Sea Systems Command Washington will serve as the contracting activity.
Scheduled to be complete by July 2015, work under the contract will be carried out in South Dakota and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Designed to serve as missile shipping and storage containers, the canisters will be used as a launch platform for specific missiles and provide rocket motor exhaust gas containment and launch rail during missile firing.
The canisters are currently used in the US Navy's Mk41 and Mk57 vertical launching systems (VLS), designed to launch missiles at strike multiple naval warfare threats such as anti-air, anti-submarine, ship self-defence, land attack and ballistic missile defence missions.
Image: BAE-built canister being installed onboard a battleship. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.