Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract by the US Navy to provide engineering design services for its MK41 vertical launching system (VLS), which defends the naval fleet from numerous threats.

The $10m, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract also includes options, which, if exercised, will bring the overall value to $182m.

Awarded under the foreign military sales programme, the latest deal also combines purchases for the US Navy and eight allied navies.

"This award continues our legacy of reliability and performance on the VLS programme."

Work under the agreement, which will be carried out at Lockheed’s locations in Baltimore, and Ventura, includes integration, software development, the integration of VLS to new vessels, technical refresh, systems engineering and life-cycle support.

Similar services will also be offered for the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers.

Lockheed Martin Mission System and Training business vice-president Joe North said the company has been working with the navy to make the MK41 VLS the world’s premier below-deck, multi-mission launching system.

"This award continues our legacy of reliability and performance on the VLS programme," North said.

The MK41 VLS is capable of launching anti-air, anti-submarine, surface-to-surface and strike missiles, and can respond to directions from multiple weapon control systems.

Being integrated in 23 different ship classes and 12 different weapon control systems, it is in operation or on order with the US and 12 navies globally.

According to Lockheed Martin, about 12,000 MK41 VLS missile cells have been supplied or are currently on order.

Defence Technology