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BAE Systems awarded U.S Navy contract for the MK 41 VLS


According to a press release published by BAE Systems on May 19, 2021, the company has won a U.S. Navy competition to serve as the design agent for the mechanical portion of the Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) anchors in the Pacific Ocean (Picture source: U.S. Navy)


“This award demonstrates that BAE Systems is an industry leader when it comes to the VLS solution for the Navy’s fleet of Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers,” said Brent Butcher, vice president of the weapon systems product line at BAE Systems.

The contract calls for BAE Systems to provide design, development, test, product improvement, and sustaining support for current and legacy VLS systems. BAE Systems will also continue to design and support canisters used to store, transport, and launch the missiles from the VLS.

The Mk 41 VLS is capable of launching a broad range of missiles, including the Standard Missile SM-2, SM-3, and SM-6 variants; the Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile; the NATO Seasparrow and Evolved Seasparrow; and the Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket.

The Mk 41 VLS is also deployed with the navies of Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey.

The Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (Mk 41 VLS) is a shipborne missile canister launching system that provides a rapid-fire launch capability against hostile threats. The Vertical Launch System (VLS) concept was derived from work on the Aegis Combat System.

The missiles are pre-loaded into "canisters", which are then loaded into the individual "cells" of the launcher.

The Mk 41 VLS adopts modular design concept, which result in different versions that vary in size and weight due to different "canisters" in various modules.

A vertical launching system (VLS) is an advanced system for holding and firing missiles on mobile naval platforms, such as surface ships and submarines.

Each vertical launch system consists of a number of cells, which can hold one or more missiles ready for firing. Typically, each cell can hold a number of different types of missiles, allowing the ship flexibility to load the best set for any given mission.

Further, when new missiles are developed, they are typically fitted to the existing vertical launch systems of that nation, allowing existing ships to use new types of missiles without expensive rework. When the command is given, the missile flies straight up long enough to clear the cell and the ship, and then turns on course.