Ships Ahoy! The Harpoon Missile Family
May 29/20: Taiwan Taiwan’s deputy defense minister Chang Zhe-Ping has confirmed to legislators that Taipei has decided to acquire the coastal road-mobile variant of the Boeing Harpoon Block II missile. Chang said the missiles should enter service with the Navy’s Hai Feng squadron in 2023. When asked, why the country chose to buy the American weapon when the existing Hsiung Feng II & III missiles are already in service, Chang clarified that studies showed that more missiles are required to destroy 50 percent of the invading force from China. This can only be achieve rapidly by buying new missiles from abroad.
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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