Standing 20 stories high, over 1,000 feet long, and weighing in at more than 100,000 tons, aircraft carriers are the U.S. Navy’s ultimate tool in power projection. When surrounded by cruisers, destroyers, and other ships and submarines in a carrier strike group, the combination of defensive and offensive firepower and the advantage of mobility creates a survivable and lethal deterrent to threats around the world.
For more than 30 years, BAE Systems has provided development, production, and support to the U.S. Navy’s ultimate tool in the high-end fight, the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS). Integrated on Ticonderoga-class (CG 47) cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) destroyers, these systems vertically launch guided missiles to provide devastating offensive firepower and defense against air, surface, subsurface, land, and ballistic missile targets, to provide protection for not only the carrier strike group but also expeditionary strike groups - groups deployed with amphibious ships.
Decades of proven experience has led the Navy to count on the BAE Systems launching systems team for full life cycle services for new missile integration into the Mk 41 VLS, including canister prototype development; full-rate production and post-delivery sustainment activities.
“Our commitment to the VLS program extends far beyond our product offerings,” said Brent Butcher, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems. “We have an entire manufacturing site dedicated to the production of VLS canisters and our engineering experts are continuously looking at new ways to innovate and support the future needs of the fleet.”
BAE Systems employs VLS engineers and program support staff at its facility in Minneapolis. The company also houses a complete VLS production and sustainment facility in Aberdeen, S.D. BAE Systems launching system experts partner with missile developers and the Navy to generate innovative solutions and new product offerings like its Adaptable Deck Launcher. The Adaptable Deck Launcher is a fixed angle, low elevation, deck-mounted launching system that can be integrated onto carriers and other ships that do not currently support a VLS, ensuring that they can also deploy this capability.
”The launching system team at BAE Systems helps the Navy maintain a ready, modern, and agile defensive capability to deter aggression around the world and to keep our nation and allies safe,” Butcher said.