The US Navy has awarded BAE Systems a contract modification to provide additional canisters for the Mk 41 vertical launching system (VLS).
The latest contract modification, worth $52.9m, follows an order originally awarded to the company in June 2013. The contract runs through 2017 to meet the navy's canister requirements and has a five-year base period of performance including options.
The VLS canisters are used for transporting, storing and launching different kinds of missiles from navy ships.
The canisters are positioned within the Mk41 VLS, located below a ship's armoured deck, to provide maximum protection, and are capable of accommodating latest weapon types to meet new mission requirements.
With more than 30 years of experience in the development, production, and support of the system for naval forces throughout the globe, BAE has been the mechanical design agent for the Mk 41 VLS.
In addition to serving as missile shipping and storage containers, the canisters also contain a rocket motor exhaust that acts as a launch rail to support flyout during missile firings and provide identification and firing support to multiple missile types such as Tomahawks, Standard Missile-3, Standard Missile-6 and SeaSparrow.
The Mk 41 is a shipborne missile canister launching system and can fire missiles, including RIM-66 Standard, RIM-67 Standard, RIM-161 Standard Missile 3, RIM-174 Standard ERAM, Tomahawk, RUM-139 VL-ASROC, RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, and RIM-162 ESSM.
While the full contract will continue through June 2019, work on this contract will run through June 2017 and will be carried out at BAE's facilities in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, US.
Additional option awards are expected to be awarded by the US Navy in 2016 and 2017.
Image: The Mk 41 vertical launching system (VLS) canister being installed. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.