Lockheed Martin Conducts Restrained Firing Of Single Cell Launcher For Emerging Ship Self Defense Requirements
BALTIMORE, MD, December 19th, 2002 -- Lockheed Martin and teammate United Defense, LP, conducted a successful restrained firing with their Single Cell Launcher (SCL) on Wednesday, December 18 at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division. Dubbed QPELS (Quad-Pack Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Launching System), the launcher is designed to meet the U.S. Navy's need for a smaller, lighter, more flexible launcher for installation aboard aircraft carriers and amphibious class ships, along with smaller ship classes that are more common in international navies.
In August of this year, the Navy notified industry of the need to replace the current MK 29 Guided Missile Launching System currently deployed on CV/CVN- and LHD-class ships, seeking a launcher with the capability to launch the Navy's newest ship self-defense missile, the ESSM, expected to complete testing and enter the fleet in 2003. In addition to the required ESSM launching capability, the Navy has also stated that it expects "significantly higher launcher availability and reduced maintenance costs" as compared to the current system.
SCL, designed by Lockheed Martin and United Defense, LP, will provide the Navy with superior reliability, affordability, flexibility and maintainability. SCL is based on proven MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) technology to include the latest state of the art open architecture and software as well as Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) components. In total SCL will benefit from nearly 90% commonality with MK 41 VLS, thereby significantly reducing lifecycle cost for the U.S. Navy. Additionally, SCL includes the U.S. Navy qualified MK 25 Quad Pack Canister, capable of accommodating the launch of four Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles from one launcher cell. Due to its single cell modularity, the SCL can be configured in any number to meet the defined mission.
According to Jim Tucker, director of launching systems at Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems (NE&SS)-Marine Systems, "The SCL leverages the basic building block of the standard eight-cell MK 41 VLS module - a single cell - thereby providing a light-weight, easily configurable launching solution to meet the Navy's ship self-defense needs."
Dale Bennett, vice president and general manager, NE&SS-Marine Systems, noted that "The restrained firing conducted yesterday is a key milestone in our development of SCL. The Navy already has over 20 years and $500 million invested in the MK 41, and any potential SCL customer will truly benefit from the shared components, technical and logistics support currently in place. There are over 10,000 MK 41 VLS cells found aboard 16 different ship classes in 11 navies worldwide, serving as testament to our experience and global acceptance in the launcher business."