Leonardo DRS to provide Vertical Launch System (VLS) hardware for launch control aboard surface warships

June 7, 2022
The LCUs select and issue prelaunch and launch commands to missiles in the shipborne missile canister launcher for rapid-fire launch capability.

PORT HUENEME, Calif. – U.S. Navy surface warfare experts needed hardware to issue prelaunch and launch commands to the Vertical Launch System (VLS) aboard surface warships. They found their solution from Leonardo DRS Naval Electronics in Johnstown, Pa.

Officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme, Calif., announced a potential $90.5 million contract to Leonardo DRS Naval Electronics on Friday for production of MK 235 Mod 17 and Mod 18 launch control units (LCU) for the MK 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS).

The LCUs are used to select and issue prelaunch and launch commands to selected missiles in the VLS, which is a shipborne missile canister launching system which provides a rapid-fire launch capability. The contract's initial value is $12 million.

The VLS is designed to launch missiles such as the RIM-66 Standard, RIM-67 Standard, RIM-161 Standard Missile 3, RIM-174 Standard ERAM, RGM-109 Tomahawk, RUM-139 VL-ASROC anti-submarine missile, RIM-7 Sea Sparrow anti-air missile, RIM-162 ESSM and Joint Strike Missile.

Related: Lockheed Martin wins $80.2 million U.S. Navy contract for MK 41 vertical launching systems

Naval ordnance personnel pre-load missiles into VLS cannisters, when then load into the launcher's separate cells. The VLS packs missiles tightly just below the main deck of the surface warship, and launcher doors pop open before the missiles launch toward their targets. The VLS replaces the Mk-112 and Mk-143 deck-mounted missile launchers.

VLS launchers are aboard the Navy's Ticonderoga-class cruisers; Arleigh Burke-class destroyers; the German Brandenburg- and Sachen-class and frigates; the Australia-New Zealand Anzac-class frigates; the Australia Adelaide-class frigates; the Turkish Barbaros-class frigates; and the Netherlands De Provinciën-class frigates.

This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy; and the governments of Spain , Australia, Republic of Korea, Finland, and Germany. On this contract Leonardo DRS Naval Electronics will do the work in Johnstown, Pa., and should be finished by July 2023.

For more information contact Leonardo DRS Naval Electronics online at www.leonardodrs.com/locations/naval-electronics-laurel-technologies-johnstown-pa, or the Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division at www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWC-Port-Hueneme.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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