Royal Navy ships will lose anti-ship missile capability in 2020 when the Harpoon missile is withdrawn with a replacement not due until ‘around 2030’.
While the Royal Navy will still have an anti-ship capability via the submarine fleet and embarked helicopters, this will still be a significant capability gap and even then, no Royal Navy helicopters will have anti-ship missile capabilities until 2020.
As we reported last year, Harriett Baldwin and her French counterpart signed an agreement to explore future long range weapons for the Royal and French Navies and Air Forces with the aim of replacing the Harpoon anti-ship missile and the Storm Shadow cruise missile as well as an array of French weapon types.
French arms procurement chief Collet-Billon said last year at the meeting:
“We are launching today a major new phase in our bilateral cooperation, by planning together a generation of missiles, successor to the Harpoon, SCALP and Storm Shadow.
The FC/ASW (future cruise/anti-ship weapon) programme’s aim is to have by around 2030 a new generation of missiles.”
The missiles however will not be ready to replace Harpoon until 2030, leaving the Type 26 Frigates without any real means to engage surface warships aside from their helicopters.