BAE Systems awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to equip the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 Global Combat Ship with the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS).
“Lockheed Martin has a long and successful partnership with the Royal Navy, and we look forward to working with BAE Systems to integrate the MK 41 VLS with the Type 26,” said Paul Livingston, Group Managing Director of Lockheed Martin UK Rotary and Mission Systems. “The MK 41 VLS will provide the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ships with a proven and cost-effective vertical launching solution.”
Each Type 26 will be equipped with three 8-cell MK 41 VLS modules. BAE Systems’ initial order includes nine MK 41 VLS modules, enough for the first three ships of the class.
There have been more than 3,850 successful firings worldwide. MK41 VLS has been successfully integrated and is in service with the U.S. and 12 allied navies on nearly 200 ships representing 20 ship classes.
Lockheed Martin Official Press Release here.
For additional info please visit MK41 VLS product page here.
The new frigates will the centerpiece of the long-awaited Saudi Naval Expansion Program II. SNEP II is set to modernize the Royal Saudi Navy’s Eastern Fleet as part of a wide-ranging estimated $20 billion arms package.
The frigates will cost about $6 billion, the largest line item of the $20 billion SNEP-II deal. The package will also modernize the frigate’s planned homeport at the King Abdul-Aziz Naval Base on the Persian Gulf. While the Freedom-class variants are being built in Wisconsin, a final production facility has not been selected.
At about 4,000-tons, the frigate can field a crew of 100 to 130. It runs on a power plant of two Rolls Royce MT-30 gas turbines and two Colt-Pielstick diesel engines. The ship will field eight RGM-84 Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles (ASM), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sonar suites, and torpedoes.
The new Saudi ships will be built around an eight-cell Mk-41 vertical launch system and a 4D air search radar. The deal also includes 532 Raytheon RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM) which can be loaded four to a Mk 41 cell. With 16 cells per hull, the Saudi Freedoms will be able to potentially field 64 anti-air missiles per-ship.