HII to Upgrade Vertical Launch System Capabilities of US Navy Ships

HII segment Mission Technologies has received a $74-million contract to explore and produce enhanced capabilities for the Mk 41 and 57 vertical launching systems used by US Navy ships.

The agreement covers research, analysis, and development of the capabilities installed aboard covered vessels, as well as naval surface weapon systems, combat systems, and other sensors associated with the launch systems.

The project will also see the integration of the latest Mk 57 universal canister electronics unit into the second Zumwalt-class destroyer, the USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001), to secure missile deployment from launch system cells.

Throughout the contract, the company will leverage industry capabilities to support corresponding technological refreshments, design prototyping, and engineering requirements for obsolescence-related tasks.

The effort has a five-year base period and will be facilitated in Syracuse, New York, and Arlington, Virginia, in collaboration with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Port Hueneme Division.

“We are extremely pleased to continue our support for the US Navy providing critical research, development, test and evaluation in support of vertical launch systems for NSWC Port Hueneme,” Mission Technologies C5ISR President Todd Gentry said.

“Facilitating the insertion of technology into naval weapon and combat systems maximizes defensive capabilities for our warfighters, giving them a distinct advantage over adversaries.”

Tomahawk cruise missile launch from Mk 41 Vertical Launching System
A Tomahawk cruise missile launches from Mk 41 Vertical Launching System on the forward missile deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) during a training exercise, August 25, 2009. Image: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Leah Stiles

The Mk 41 and 57 Systems

The Mk 41 vertical launch system was first commissioned in the 1980s to protect naval battle groups from airborne threats.

The multi-mission system can fire SM 2, 3, and 6 surface-to-air missiles, Tomahawk long-range subsonic cruise missiles, and the Anti-Submarine Rocket missile.

About 15 nations are currently operating the Mk 41. In the US, the system is employed between its 61 to 122-cell configurations and is integrated across the Zumwalt, Arleigh Burke, Spruance, and Ticonderoga-class destroyers.

The navy also plans to equip Mk 41 with the forthcoming Next-Generation Guided-Missile destroyer or DDG(X).

Meanwhile, the MK 57 is an upgraded version of the Mk 41 and feature similar warhead compatibility. However, the MK57 is capable of launching more advanced missiles, including the Evolved Sea Sparrow.

This modern launch system is also equipped on the Zumwalt fleet.

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