Ships Ahoy! The Harpoon Missile Family
May 15/15: The State Department has approved a possible sale of 48 UGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles to Japan. The submarine-launched Block II version of the missile is designed to improve the missile’s ability to attack targets in congested littoral environments, where nearby land masses and other ships can provide cover for targets. The Foreign Military Sale would be worth $199 million, with the missiles manufactured by Boeing. The company is meanwhile offering the latest version of the missile – known as the Harpoon Next-Gen – to the US 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 – 2015
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: Harpoon Family
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