Ships Ahoy! The Harpoon Missile Family
March 8/21: Delays Taiwan is unlikely to take delivery of the Harpoon Coastal Defense System in 2024 after the United States inform the island that Boeing can only start delivery of equipment in 2025, Up Media reported. Also, the delivery of the missiles will only take place in 2026 and Taiwan will also have to purchase communications equipment that was not included in the original Foreign Military Sale package. The news report added that Taipei had requested to buy the RGM-84Q-4 Harpoon Block II+ ER missile but Washington only agreed to sell the RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II. It was also pointed out that the entire purchase, from formulation to approval, took only three months and it was not part of the Navy’s weapon acquisition work plan for 2020. This lead to speculation that the sales contract to Boeing was forced on the Navy.
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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