The US Department of Defense (DoD) issued two contracts to provide components for MK41 vertical launching systems (VLS).

The original equipment manufacturer of the system, Lockheed Martin, won the first contract on 23 May for $194.7m. The company will provide modules and ancillary hardware components. The parts will be used by the US Navy, Canada and Australia. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $642m.  

BAE Systems won the second contract for $16.3m on 24 May. The company will provide canister production and ancillary hardware for the US Navy.

The MK41 VLS is a shipborne missile launcher. The system offers an open, distributed architecture that can integrate future technologies. The weapon control interface and the mechanical and electrical interface allows the system to support any missile in any cell.

The missiles currently integrated with the system include: Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, Tomahawk Cruise Missile, Standard Missile 2, Standard Missile 3, Standard Missile 6 and Vertical Launch ASROC .

Picturered are missiles that can currently integrate with the MK41 VLS. Credit: Lockheed Martin.

The MK41 is also the only launching system that can simultaneously communicate with weapon control systems and missiles. Including: anti-aircraft, anti-surface, anti-submarine, ballistic missile defence and land attack. The system accepts any missile into any cell – a capability that provides unparalleled flexibility.

As the security crises in the Indo-Pacific intensifies, the foreign military sales agreement with Australia indicates the need for an integrated response to the threat of China.