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.
CAE, L3 Technologies, MDA and Ultra, along with BAE and Lockheed Martin have teamed up to offer the Type 26 Frigate to Canada.
Although Lockheed Martin Canada is leading the team, the Type 26 is a British vessel that was designed by BAE Systems. The first of eight planned Type 26 frigates is currently under construction for the British Royal Navy and promises to be a capable vessel if Canada adopts it.
Speculation is mounting that Canada is seriously considering the Type 26 Frigate for its ‘Canadian Surface Combatant’ project.
Lockheed Martin, BAE and the host of Canadian, European and American firms have modified the basic Type 26 design for Canada’s requirements. Chief among the modifications is the addition of the indigenous Canadian-designed CMS 30 combat management system, which is currently installed onboard the upgraded Halifax-class frigates that are the mainstay of the Canadian fleet.
However, the Type 26 is not the sole competitor for the CSC program. Other bidders are submitting the Dutch De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate design and the French/Italian FREMM design. But regardless of who ultimately wins the CSC design contest, the prime contractor to build the ships will be Irving Shipbuilding Inc
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.
HMAS Hobart (DDG-39) has been delivered to Australian Navy.
HMAS Hobart is the first Aegis-equipped ship to be delivered to Australia.
Hobart is 146.7 metres long, has a top speed of 28 knots (52km/h), a range of about 5000 nautical miles and room for more than 200 crew.
Australia Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said: “The acceptance of this first-of-class ship is a further demonstration of the success of the Government-led reform initiative, with the program meeting all budget and schedule targets, Hobart will enter into service later this year.
“Hobart will play a critical role for Defence by providing new interoperable capabilities for the Royal Australian Navy.”
The Aegis weapon system has been designed as a total combat management system from detection to engagement.
Lockheed noted that the centralised, automated, command-and-control weapons control enables multi-mission capability, network centric warfare, cooperative engagement capability and growth to SM-6 and future capabilities.
She carries a range of weapons, detection and electronic warfare systems onboard, which include an Aegis threat tracking system, SPQ Horizon Search Radar, 48 vertical launch missile cells, a 5″ gun for coastal operations and two quad launchers of anti-ship HARPOON weapon systems.
The AWDs have also been equipped with anti-surface, anti-submarine and naval gunfire capabilities.