Tag Archives: MK 41 VLS

Vertical Launching System

Damen Naval has contracted Lockheed Martin for the MK-41 Vertical Launching System in support of the F126 project. In this way, Lockheed Martin will significantly support the construction of the new frigates for the German Navy.

Multi-Purpose Combat Ship F126
Another milestone for the F126 project: MK-41 Vertical Launching System under contract

The award concerns the MK-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) Direct Commercial Sale contract, which was signed on January 31, 2021. Jorge Ciappi, MK-41 VLS International Business Development Manager is delighted with the trust shown in Lockheed Martin by Damen as the contracting party and the BAAINBw having preselected Lockheed Martin for the scope. The Lockheed Martin scope of supply and services includes the production and delivery of two 8-cell strike length MK 41 VLS Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block 2 capable modules for each of four ships plus associated engineering efforts and ancillary hardware.

Both the German and Royal Netherlands Navy operate this system. Damen is familiar with the MK-41 VLS system operating on the Netherlands Air Defence and Command Frigate (ADCF) project and various other projects in the export domain. Moreover, the system has a rich 25+ year history with the German Navy, including projects such as the F123 Brandenburg Class and F124 Sachsen Class frigates.

Hein van Ameijden, Managing Director of Damen Naval, says: «This contract is the next logic step for the game-changing project F126. Moreover, it is an excellent example for realizing financial, technical and operative benefits through bi-national cooperation in Europe. Using Lokheed Martin’s MK-41-system on board of the new German frigates carries on a long and successful history of German and Royal Netherlands Navies operating this system for years».

Initially designed with the ability to fire anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, strike, and anti-submarine warfare missiles simultaneously, MK-41 VLS immediately solidified its place as the world’s premier surface-launching system. It’s «Any Weapon/Any Cell» design allows a MK-41 cell to fire any integrated missile providing maximum flexibility. With over 14,000 deployed VLS cells across more than 150 vessels, 4,500 operational and test firings and an operational availability of greater than 99 percent, MK-41 VLS stands as a remarkable testament of the ingenuity. With this system, in combination with other systems and sensors onboard, the F126 has the ability to operate in the most complex maritime environments, and therefore contribute internationally to securing safety and stability.

Damen Naval is building the four F126 class frigates together with its partners Blohm+Voss and Thales. Damen Naval was selected as successful bidder in 2020 following a European tender process spanning several years. The first ship is expected to be delivered to the German Navy in 2028. All building work will be carried out entirely in Germany at shipyards in Kiel, Hamburg and Wolgast.

3-cell ExLS Launcher

MBDA and Lockheed Martin have jointly completed qualification of MBDA’s Common Anti-air Modular Missile (CAMM) from Lockheed Martin’s Extensible Launching System (ExLS) 3-Cell Stand Alone Launcher following a series of trials.

When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell
When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell

ExLS is a low-cost alternative for integrating new missiles and munitions into naval surface combatants leveraging Lockheed Martin’s proven Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) design and electronics.

The compact vertical launch 3-cell ExLS system is specifically designed for smaller naval platforms that are unable to accommodate the larger 8-cell MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). ExLS has also been designed to fit inside the MK 41 launcher (i.e. ExLS Host), offering flexible, adaptable installation solutions for larger ships to achieve high combat mass within a small on-board footprint.

MBDA’s CAMM is a highly compact missile that enables multiple weapons to be fitted in limited spaces. It is the most modern air defence missile of its class on the market and has recently completed a highly successful series of firings by the Royal Navy. When operated from ExLS or MK 41 VLSD, CAMM comes in a quad-pack arrangement which allows to store and fire 4 missiles from a single cell. These latest trials from 3-cell ExLS were successfully completed in the United Kingdom at the end of 2017.

«The success of these trials is testament to the hard work and close co-operation of the MBDA and Lockheed Martin», said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president of small combatants and ship systems. «A launcher within a launcher, ExLS uses CAMM canistered munitions with its qualified launch electronics to cut integration costs by more than 50 percent. It is a mature design that when paired with CAMM offers a low-cost alternative for integrating new missiles and munitions into current and future surface combatants».

Paul Mead, Head of Business Development at MBDA, said: «These trials have further demonstrated the maturity, reliability and safety of the CAMM vertical launch system from both 3-cell ExLS and ExLS Host/MK 41 and follows the highly successful operational trials of CAMM by the Royal Navy in 2017. The pairing of CAMM with the 3-cell ExLS launcher is a natural choice, providing a flexible launcher solution available now for naval platforms to take advantage of the high-performance air defence capabilities and compact size of CAMM with ExLS. Other MBDA weapon systems, compatible with ExLS, are planned for the future».