Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems Land & Armaments $45.9 million for mechanical design and engineering services for the MK41 Vertical Launch System aboard two classes of vessel for the United States, as well as allied navies.
The services to be provided under the contract, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, include mechanical, cable and missile canister equipment alongside engineering support and necessary materials such as composites, resin, and carbon fiber.
The purchase will include material ordering requirements for the ballistic missile defense systems mounted on U.S. and allied surface combatant ships using the Mk 41 VLS and the AEGIS Weapons System.
Work on the new contract will mostly be performed in Minneapolis, Minn., and is expected to be finished by March 2020. The Navy has obligated $1.1 million to BAE at the time of award from Navy fiscal 2017 shipbuilding and conversion funds and fiscal 2018 weapons procurement funds, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Mk 41 is a modular missile launch system that can be installed in individual 8-cell modules capable of fielding anti-aircraft, anti-surface and ballistic missile defense missiles. The modules can be linked together, allowing different ship classes to carry the number of missiles needed for their class capabilities and requirements.
The system is the standard missile launch system mounted on the U.S. Navy's Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, along with various ship classes in use by allied nations such as Japan, the United Kingdom and others.
The VLS can mount the Standard series of surface-to-air missiles and anti-ballistic missile interceptors, Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles and other weapons such as ESSM point defense missiles and ASROC anti-submarine rocket propelled torpedo launchers.
The Mk 41 will also be capable of deploying future missiles under development such as the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile.
Variants of the Mk 41 are also expected to be installed on the future FFG(X) Guided Missile Frigate currently on the drawing board by the U.S. Navy.