The Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) has signed a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) agreement with the American company Lockheed Martin for the delivery of vertical missile canister launching systems Mk 41 VLS for the needs of three Miecznik-class missile frigates.
As part of the agreement, 12 Mk 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) in the Baseline VII Strike Length Launcher (known as long) version were acquired for the MBDA CAMM Sea Ceptor (Common Anti-Air Modular Missile) maritime air defense system family, which was ordered on January 12th of this year. Each ship will receive 4 launchers with 8 cells each, totaling 32 cells for each Miecznik-class frigate. Each cell can carry four CAMM missiles (in a quadpack configuration), allowing one frigate to have a maximum of 128 missiles of this type simultaneously.
The Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems are the most widespread standard for shipborne launchers in NATO. They have been integrated with various types of missiles, including the RIM-162 ESSM Block 1 anti-aircraft missiles, RIM-174 SM-6 ERAM missiles, the RIM-66 SM-2 Block IIIA/B family, maneuvering RGM-109 Tomahawk missiles, anti-ballistic RIM-161 SM-3 missiles, anti-ship AGM-158C LRASM missiles, and anti-submarine RUM-139 VL-ASROC, providing a high degree of flexibility in selecting ordnance based on circumstances. In the near future, the launcher will also be capable of launching the missile interceptors PAC-3 MSE (Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement), currently used in the MIM-104 Patriot system.
The ExLS module is a solution that allows the use of CAMM family missiles in Mk 41 launchers, which will be one of the pillars of the armament of the Miecznik-class frigates. One of the projects, the implementation of which is the result of the decision to build new units for the maritime strike forces, is the work on the creation of the medium-range missile CAMM-MR, in which Polish and British defense industries are involved.
On Wednesday, January 31, at the Naval Shipyard Gdynia SA, a ceremony was held to lay the keel of the first of three multi-purpose frigates being built as part of the Miecznik program. The ship, identified by hull number 106/1, will be named ORP Wicher in the future (Wicher’s Keel is Laid).
Interestingly, in Poland, the Mk 41 VLS launchers are already present, but not on ships. They are part of the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System (AAMDS) at the Naval Support Facility (NSF) Redzikowo near Słupsk. It’s called Aegis Ashore Poland. They are housed in three buildings and are intended for 24 missile interceptors, the RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 Block IIA. In July of this year, the missile defense installation will be formally activated.