Ships Ahoy! The Harpoon Missile Family
Portugal’s 2 submarines almost ready to use Block II; Brazil’s maritime patrol order; Super Hornet testing; Minor export orders.
May 28/14: Portugal. Portugal’s pair of U212 (U209PN) Air-Independent-Propulsion diesel submarines will soon be able to fire the country’s small handful of Harpoon Block II missiles operationally, with plans for formal induction in Q4 2014:
“Eight Portuguese Navy RGM-84 Block I surface-launched anti-ship missiles are being adapted into Block II weapons in Den Helder, the Netherlands, with the installation of upgrade kits supplied by Boeing, the missile’s original equipment manufacturer. Upgrade of the first missile was completed on schedule at the end of 2013…. Portugal also purchased eight capsules and associated containers in 2009 under its Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LoA) agreement with the United States.”
The submarines were delivered with Harpoon compatibility, for use alongside its Black Shark heavy torpedoes. A Sources: IHS Jane’s Navy International, “Portugal to induct Harpoon Block II for submarines in 2014″.
May 6/14: Brazil. The US DSCA announces Brazil’s formal export request for AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Missiles. Specifically, they want an initial order of 16 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II Missiles, 4 CATM-84L Harpoon Block II Captive Air Training Missiles, containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of US Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $169 million, but the exact price will depend on contract negotiations.
Adding AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles would give Brazil’s P-3AMs a long-range weapon to extend their reach over sea and land, and proportionately reduce their response time to high-level threats. This is only enough for an initial buy, but it will get the FAB started and allow their crews to become fully proficient with the new weapon. For full context, read “Brazil’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft“.
Dec 17/13: The Boeing Co., St. Louis, MO, is being awarded a $70 million firm-fixed-price contract for 12 encapsulated Harpoon AURs; 5 harpoon Grade B exercise Missiles; 2 encapsulated harpoon certification training vehicles and shipping containers; 100 harpoon improved fuze booster kits; 50 harpoon improved fuze kits; 2 harpoon blast test vehicles; and associated hardware and containers. They’re for the US Navy ($2.4 M / 3.42%) and various foreign military sales customers: South Korea ($38.1M / 54.44%); Canada ($10M / 14.25%); Japan ($7.7M / 10.97%); Germany ($6.5M / 9.27%); Australia ($3.4M / 4.79%); Taiwan ($812,520 / 1.16%); Saudi Arabia ($460,952 / 0.66%); Turkey ($444,749 / 0.64%); Egypt ($239,618 / 0.34%); and the United Kingdom ($51,225 / 0.07%).
All funds are committed immediately. The USA isn’t buying these missiles any more, so it’s likely that most of these missiles are headed for South Korea.
Work is expected to be complete in December, 2014, and will be performed in the St. Charles, MO (48.2%); United Kingdom (12%); McKinney, (8.83%); Middletown, CT (4.77%); Elkton, MD, (4.16%); Toledo, OH (3.72%); Lilititz, PA (2.24%); Joplin, MO (2.09%); Galena, KS (1.9%); St. Louis, MO (1.74%); Grove, OK (1.38%); Lancaster, PA (1.04%); Huntsville, AL (1.0%); Newton, PA (0.8%); China Lake, CA (0.8%); Chandler, AZ (0.7%); Minneapolis, MN (0.56%); East Camden, AR (0.55%); and various locations in the continental United States (3.52%). This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1, by US NAVBAIR in Patuxent River, MD (N00019-14-C-0005).
Dec 4/13: Support. Boeing in St. Louis, MO receives an $8.5 million firm-fixed-price delivery order top provide 2014 integrated logistics support/engineering services for Harpoon/ SLAM-ER Missile System and Harpoon Launch System parts for the US Navy and various foreign military sales customers.
This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy ($3,122,737; 36.82%); the governments of Korea ($759,253; 8.95%); Taiwan ($715,517; 8.43%); Turkey ($632,914; 7.46%); Egypt ($421,912; 4.97%); United Kingdom ($317,393; 3.74%); Japan ($302,563; 3.57%); Pakistan ($283,035; 3.34%); Australia ($260,331; 3.07%); Chile ($223,047; 2.63%); Saudi Arabia ($223,212; 2.63%); Canada ($204,204; 2.41%); Israel ($165,053; 1.95%); Bahrain ($109,006; 1.29%); United Arab Emirates ($106,102; 1.25%); the Netherlands ($83,584; 0.99%); Germany ($83,582; 0.99%); Kuwait ($77,246; 0.91%); Singapore ($75,386; 0.89%); Oman ($71,439; 0.84%); India ($64,462; 0.76%); Portugal ($62,687; 0.74%); Thailand ($45,825; 0.54%); Denmark ($41,791; 0.49%); and Malaysia ($28,823; 0.34%) under the Foreign Military Sales program.
Work will be performed in St. Charles, MO (91.17%); St. Louis, MO (5.43%); Yorktown, VA (2.64%); Pt. Mugu, CA (0.71%); and Oklahoma City, OK (0.05%), and is expected to be complete in July 2014 (N00019-11-G-0001, DO 2035).
Oct 17/13: Testing. You wouldn’t think that loading an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet with 4 Harpoon missiles underwing would be a problem, but its canted pylons magnify the effects of turbulence and buffeting on the aircraft, and on each missile launch. US NAVAIR is just now beginning tests of this load-out, beginning with a simple flight test of the load.
It’s a good reminder that just because an aircraft is integrated with a specific weapon, doesn’t mean that any configuration is automatically acceptable. Testing may or may not test the full range. Sources: Boeing feature, “Locked & Loaded” (incl. video).
The sub-sonic, wave-skimming GM-84 Harpoon is the US Navy’s sole anti-shipping missile, with the minor exception of small helicopter-borne AGM-119B Penguin missiles. The Harpoon has been adapted into several variants, and exported to many navies around the world. At present, the Harpoon family includes AGM-84 air, RGM-84 sea/land, and UGM-84 submarine-launched versions. Variants such as the Joint Standoff Land Attack Missiles and the upgraded AGM-84K SLAM – Expanded Response will also be covered in this DID FOCUS Article. It describes the missiles themselves, and covers global contracts involving this family.
The Harpoon family’s best known competitor is the French/MBDA M38/39/40 Exocet, but recent years have witnessed a growing competitive roster at both the subsonic (Israel’s >Gabriel family, Russia’s SS-N-27 Klub family, Saab’s RBS15, Kongsberg’s stealthy NSM, China’s YJ-82/C-802 used by Hezbollah in Lebanon), and supersonic (Russia’s SS-N-22 Sunburn/Moskit, SS-N-26 Yakhont, and some SS-N-27 Klub variants, India’s SS-N-26 derived PJ-10 BrahMos) tiers.
GM-84 Harpoon Family: The Missiles
GM-84 Harpoon Family: Contracts & Key Events
FY 2013 – 2014
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: Harpoon Family
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