The U.S. Navy completed a free-flight test of the new network-enabled Harpoon missile system November 18 at the Sea Range at Point Mugu, California. Building on the nearly 40-year legacy of the Harpoon, the upgraded missile, known as Block II+, will have the ability to receive in-flight updates that improve the targeting and engagement of moving maritime targets.
«This successful free-flight test is a tremendous achievement for the joint Boeing and Navy team and reflects their hard work and dedication over the past several years», said Commander Matt Farr, Harpoon/Standoff Land Attack Missile-Extended Range deputy program manager. «We are on schedule to deliver this important capability to the fleet in 2017, giving the U.S. Navy a significant advantage in anti-surface warfare».
The free-flight missile event was the first end-to-end functionality test of an inert Harpoon Block II+ from pre-flight to target impact. The test proved that the missile could receive target location updates from an F/A-18 while in-flight through its network-enabled datalink. It then successfully acquired a moving ship target using its active radar seeker and guided itself autonomously to impact the target.
This test, the culmination of 152 lab-test sessions, 15 aircraft ground tests and 16 flight tests, will be followed by another more demanding developmental test in fiscal year 2016.
«The Harpoon missile is the premier surface warfare weapon in service today and we are working to ensure that it remains viable and lethal into the future», said Captain Jaime Engdahl, Precision Strike Weapons program manager. «Block II+ is a critical capability for us and we are taking every opportunity to pace the growing maritime threat by continuously improving Harpoon’s range, survivability, and lethality».
The AGM-84N Harpoon Block II+ will also have a new GPS guidance kit that will enhance the weapon’s navigation.
Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon weapon designed to execute both land-strike and anti-ship missions against a range of targets. Since introduction to the fleet in 1977, a total of 7,500 missiles have been delivered to the U.S. Navy and its 29 foreign partners.
The A/U/RGM-84 Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system. The Harpoon’s active radar guidance, warhead design, low-level cruise trajectory, and terminal mode sea-skim or pop-up maneuvers assure high survivability and effectiveness. The missile is capable of being launched from surface ships, submarines, shore batteries, or aircraft (without the booster). Originally developed for the U.S. Navy to serve as its basic anti-ship missile for fleet-wide use. The A/R/UGM-84 was first introduced in 1977, and in 1979 the air-launched version was deployed on the Navy’s P-3C Orion aircraft. The Harpoon was also adapted for use on USAF B-52H bombers, which can carry from 8 to 12 of the missiles. The Harpoon missile has been integrated on foreign F-16 aircraft and is presently being integrated on foreign F-15 aircraft. Under a 1998 agreement between Boeing and the U.S. Navy, an advanced upgrade to Harpoon missile was developed. This Harpoon Block II missile incorporated Global Positioning System-assisted inertial navigation, which enables the system to have both an anti-ship and a land attack capability.
|Primary Function||Air, ship, and foreign submarine and land-based coastal defense battery launched anti-ship cruise missile|
|Contractor||The Boeing Company|
|Unit Cost||$1,200,000 for Harpoon Block II|
|Propulsion||Teledyne Turbojet/solid propellant booster for surface and submarine launch|
|Thrust||Greater than 600 pounds/272.2 kg|
|Length||Air launched: 12 feet, 7 inches/3.8 m|
|Surface & submarine launched: 15 feet/4.6 m|
|Diameter||13.5 inches/34.3 cm|
|Wingspan||3 feet/91.4 cm with booster fins and wings|
|Weight||1,523 pounds/690.8 kg with booster|
|Range||Over-the-horizon, in excess of 67 NM/77 miles/124 km|
|Guidance System||Sea-skimming cruise monitored by radar altimeter/active radar terminal homing|
|Warhead||Penetration/high-explosive blast: 488 pounds/224 kg|
|Service||Navy and Air Force, and 27 foreign nations|