Numbers Add Up for MK 41 Vertical Launching System

file An intercept missile launches from the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) during a successful Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense flight test in June, 2008. Photo courtesy Missile Defense Agency.

Story highlights

• More than 12,000 missile cells have been delivered or are on order

• USN recently awarded $17M contract for MK 41 VLS engineering design services


When you look at the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS), the numbers speak for themselves.

  • More than 12,000 MK 41 VLS missile cells have been delivered or are on order.
  • Twelve navies either use or will be using the MK 41 VLS.
  • It is or will be used on 186 ships in 19 different classes.
  • The MK 41 VLS has a greater than 99 percent successful launch rate on more than 3,000 missile firings.

The multi-missile MK 41 launcher has revolutionized the way world navies think about sea-launched weapons, providing the capabilities to respond to numerous naval warfare threats including anti-air, anti-submarine, ship self-defense, land attack and ballistic missile defense.

“The MK 41 is the most proven below-deck, multi-mission launching system in the world,” said Dan Schultz, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Ship and Aviation Systems business. “Working closely with the U.S. Navy, we have led the system design team and have been delivering, modernizing and supporting the MK 41 VLS system for more than 30 years. Its capability is second to none.”

The U.S. Navy recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $17 million contract to provide engineering design services for the MK 41 VLS on the U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. The cost-plus-fixed fee contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy and eight Allied navies under the Foreign Military Sales program. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the total contract value to $104 million over four years.

Included in the work is missile integration, software development, integration of VLS into new ships, technical refresh, systems engineering and life cycle support for MK 41 VLS. The work will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s locations in Baltimore, MD and Ventura, CA.