The guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald launches a Standard Missile-3 during a joint ballistic missile defense exercise in the Pacific Ocean during 2012. The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems a contract for design work and support services for the vertical launch system, used by ships that carry missiles. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.

The guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald launches a Standard Missile-3 during a joint ballistic missile defense exercise in the Pacific Ocean during 2012. The U.S. Navy has awarded BAE Systems a contract for design work and support services for the vertical launch system, used by ships that carry missiles. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.

The U.S. Navy awarded BAE Systems a contract for work as the design agent for the mechanical portion of the Mk 41 vertical launch system. The Navy uses the system to launch a variety of missiles from ships including destroyers and cruisers. Navies of U.S. allies also use the modular, canister-like vertical launch system, called a VLS for short.
If the Navy exercises all of its options, the deal will be worth as much as $164.5 million over five years. Primary work under the contract will be completed in Minneapolis. Some 18% of the work — with a maximum value of $29 million — will be performed in San Diego. Another 18% will be conducted in the Navy port of Norfolk, Virginia.
The contract calls for BAE Systems to provide design, development, test, product improvement and sustaining support for current and legacy VLS systems. BAE Systems will also continue to design and support canisters used to store, transport and launch the missiles from the VLS.
The Mk 41 VLS is capable of launching a broad range of missiles, including the Standard Missile SM-2, SM-3, and SM-6 variants; the Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile; the NATO Seasparrow and Evolved Seasparrow; and the Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rocket.
The Mk 41 VLS is also deployed with the navies of Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain and Turkey. Some 11% of this particular contract will go to Japan.
The Naval Sea Systems Command at the Washington Navy Yard awarded the contract, announced on April 28.

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