Lockheed Awarded Navy Launcher Deal
BY RICHARD MULLEN
The Navy awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. a contract modification worth $50.6 million for MK 41 vertical launch systems (VLS), the company said.
These launchers, the company claims, have changed naval thinking about sea-launched weapons because of their abilty to address "every threat in naval warfare," Lockheed Martin said.
Those launchers are destined for installation on three new Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) Aegis destroyers, each of which will receive a set of 12 MK 41 VLS Baseline VII modules, the company said.
The Naval Sea Systems Command made the the contract modification award to Lockheed Martin. The modification completes procurement of modules initiated by a $27 million contract awarded in August for purchase of long-lead materials, the company said.
This deal covers hardware procurement, design, fabrication, and delivery of the total of 36 launch systems, which Lockheed Martin will produce at its Middle River, Md., facility outside Baltimore. Completion of deliveries under the order is scheduled for 2010, the company said.
Lockheed Martin described its VLS as a "below-deck missile launching system" that has "revolutionized the way world navies think about sea-launched weapons."
"No other naval missile launcher is capable of launching missiles for every threat in naval warfare, including anti-air, anti-submarine, ship self-defense, land attack and ballistic missile defense," the company continued in a statement.
Eleven national navies have ordered more than 11,000 MK 41 VLS missile cells, to equip 178 ships, Lockheed Martin said.
The MK 41 evolved into a multi-missile, multi-mission launcher as Lockheed Martin "continuously upgraded the launcher’s capabilities through a series of product improvement initiatives," the company said.
The launcher originated as a system for the Navy’s Aegis-equipped guided missile cruisers. In 2004, Lockheed Martin introduced the MK 41 VLS Baseline VII, an upgrade to the module electronics that enabled "improved life cycle maintenance through a cell-based architecture utilizing commercial off-the-shelf technologies and open architecture," the company said.
"The MK 41 has a well-earned record of distinction in protecting our country. Once these 36 modules are delivered, the Vertical Launch System will be on 62 Aegis destroyers throughout the fleet," said Dave Broadbent, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Littoral Ships & Systems line of business. "We appreciate the continued confidence the Navy has shown in our combat-proven MK 41."
"The MK 41 is a proven, reliable launcher that plays an integral role in our nation’s defense," said Toan Nguyen, surface launching systems project manager for the Navy’s Program Executive Office, Integrated Warfare Systems.