Ships Ahoy! The Harpoon Missile Family
August 15/17: Despite receiving clearance from the US State Department, Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has played down a deal to buy Harpoon anti-ship missiles, adding that the sale still needs to be finalized. Gen Prayut said that the procurement was possibly part of a previous purchase plan by its state procurement agency and will now need to be followed up by the Defense Ministry before approval. He added that he will seek more information from Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency cleared the $24.9 million sale on Aug. 10, for use on Thailand’s DW3000 Class frigate.
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 – 2017
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: Harpoon Family
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