Lockheed Martin announced today that Japan
has purchased a seventh lot of Vertical Launch Antisubmarine (VLA) rockets valued at $59.8 million. Lockheed Martin will deliver the VLAs to Mitsubishi Corporation
, Tokyo, in 2005 for transfer to Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force for use on Kongo- and Murasame-class ships.
"The consecutive contracts awarded to us by Mitsubishi signify the important defense capability that VLAs provide the Japanese Maritime Self- Defense Force," said Al Barber, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin's Maritime Systems & Sensors business in Akron, OH. "Since 1997, we have been entrusted with providing a key system in Japan's antisubmarine warfare arsenal. The VLA is launched from the Lockheed Martin MK-41 Vertical Launching Systems
(VLS), which has become the preferred multi-missile launching system in use by navies around the world."
The VLA is a rocket-propelled, three-stage antisubmarine warfare weapon that delivers a torpedo payload to the target area at intermediate ranges. Upon water entry, a nose cap shatters to allow for torpedo release and target acquisition. The system provides 360-degree rapid response, all-weather torpedo delivery without the need for ship maneuvering.
The missile's storage canister is also its launching canister, fitting in the VLS as an integrated unit. Lockheed Martin began delivery of VLAs to the U.S. Navy and Japanese Navy in 1993. The U.S. Navy has approved the ship- launched missile for export to 38 countries, including NATO alliance members, and several Mid-east and Pacific Rim nations through direct commercial sales.