Lockheed Martin has introduced an upgraded MK 41 vertical launching system (VLS) production line at its Middle River, Maryland facility, US.
Under a previously awarded $235.3m firm-fixed-price contract by the US Navy, which extends until 2022, Lockheed designed and developed MK 41 VLS electronic and mechanical modules and related equipment.
The contract also included the production of launch control units, various electrical boxes and the mechanical structure, as well as assemble the parts and assess the structure.
Lockheed Martin Ship and Aviation systems business vice-president and general manager Stephanie Hill said: "In partnership with the US Navy, we have been delivering, modernising and supporting the MK 41 VLS system for more than 30 years.
"We, along with our suppliers in Maryland and all over the nation, look forward to continuing to serve our customer with this critical national defense capability."
The MK 41 VLS programme is said to generate more than 150 highly skilled jobs in the Baltimore area.
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The company developed 80 new tools to bolster the production flow in the production line.
A new contract to reestablish a deck and hatch production at its Middle River site years is said to have necessitated the modernisation programme.
The MK 41 VLS acts as a flexible international launcher for US Navy cruisers and destroyers.
It is equipped to launch anti-air, anti-submarine, surface-to-surface and strike missiles, and can receive orders from multiple weapon control systems to engage in every warfighting mission.
The MK 41 VLS accounts for 3,850 successful firings globally and has been incorporated into the US and 12 allied navies, into nearly 200 ships, representing 20 ship classes.
Image: Representatives of Lockheed Martin and Navy at the ceremonial reopening of the MK 41 Vertical Launching System. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.