Keeping Ships Out of Harm’s Way and Subs at Bay

Navy awards Lockheed Martin a contract for 22 vertical launch anti-submarine missile components

 

VLA_460 The Navy recently awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to produce vertical launch anti-submarine (VLA) missile components for its Ticonderoga class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers equipped with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System.

To combat enemy submarines in World War II, Navy ships relied on depth charges. The big problem with that was the ship needed to be practically over top the submarine – easily within range of an enemy torpedo.

Today, anti-submarine warfare enables ships to remain miles away at a safe distance, and the U.S. Navy continues to upgrade that capability.

The Navy recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $27 million contract to produce components for 22 vertical launch anti-submarine (VLA) missiles. The Navy will deploy the supersonic, urgent attack weapon on its Ticonderoga class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers equipped with Lockheed Martin’s MK 41 Vertical Launching System.

“Our system successfully defeats submarine threats, which continue to increase worldwide. We have produced more than 1,000 missiles over 20 years that are deployed around the world protecting our sailors every day,” said Colleen Arthur, program director of Lockheed Martin’s Integrated Defense Technologies business. “Working with our U.S. Navy customer and using our collective expertise, we continue advancing the reliability, range and effectiveness of the VLA missile.”

The MK 41 below deck launcher fires the VLA missile system, which includes a lightweight torpedo, through the air to the target area. As the airframe separates, a parachute drops the torpedo into the water, where it tracks and engages the enemy submarine.  The VLA missile has exceeded accuracy requirements in its operational and testing performance.

Effective in open-ocean and littoral waters, VLA can be fired in all kinds of weather without maneuvering the ship.  It provides twice the range of the prior anti-submarine rocket system, reducing the risk to the ship and its sailors. 

The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force also uses the VLA. Navies worldwide are expressing interest in VLA missiles as they seek to replace older, unguided, above-deck launched anti-submarine weapons that are reaching the end of their service life.

Posted July 9, 2012

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