Babcock International has announced a further year contract extension has been agreed to continue in-service support to the Harpoon Missile System for the Royal Navy.

According to a press release from the firm:

“Babcock provides specialist air, defence and missiles engineering expertise supporting the availability of the Harpoon Missile System fitted to Type 23 Frigates and Type 45 Destroyers.

Its role in the programme covers operational defect support, post design services and the procurement of spares, enabling maintenance of the system and its operational availability to the fleet.”

Martin Laity, Director Mission Systems, Babcock said:

“We are pleased to continue supporting the Harpoon programme, ensuring asset availability for our customer. This is a vital piece of anti-ship equipment on board both the Type 23 and Type 45 that enables them to operate safely wherever they are deployed.”

Royal Navy ships were originally to lose surface-to-surface anti-ship missile capability in 2018 when the Harpoon missile was to be withdrawn with a replacement not due until ‘around 2030’, a new interim missile will fill the upcoming gap.

New Royal Navy surface-to-surface missile ‘by mid-2021’

The Ministry of Defence had last year notified bidders of its intention to purchase an interim anti-ship missile as current Harpoon stocks reach end of life.

5 3 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
73 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Frank62
Frank62
3 months ago

Fingers need to be pulled out so we have a credible interim AShM ASAP.

Mark B
Mark B
3 months ago

Spear 3, Sea Venom – we seem to have plenty of missiles in the right ball park (might need beefing up) which could probably be adapted but I sense that instead we will go for a massive procurement which will mean my great grandchildren might get some benefit from it! You couldn’t make this stuff up!

John Pattullo
John Pattullo
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

does spear 3 have a large enough warhead for anti ship duties? i would go with LRASM if we come up with something better – then these can be deck fit to the type 31’s and if not they can dropped into the type 26’s easily

Mark B
Mark B
3 months ago
Reply to  John Pattullo

Personally I do believe we need a mix of warheads as surface threats seem to be coming in all sizes nowadays. That said we would certainly need to increase warhead sizes however I totally agree we really just need something which does the job off the shelf. If that is LRASM let’s buy it today.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

The LRASM is too expensive for the RN, at nearly $4m each.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I suspect FC/ASW is likely to have similar costs to LRASM. I notice from the US 2021 DoD weapons budget that even NSM for the LCS program would be $2M+ each based on 15-18 per year buy rate through 2021.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  John Pattullo

Something many overlook is that LRASM has not been qualified for surface launch by the USN or anyone else, either from canister or MK41 VLS. Lockheed have done test launches from both some years ago but the USN has not as yet adopted LRASM for surface launch and may never do so. Consequently for the UK to commit to it now also means being the lead customer for surface launch and presumably paying for the privilege.

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago

Exactly, I was surprised when I found out. The trials run by LockMart apparently used a modified version of the TLAM launch control system, so I think they’d probably need to get its own proper software developed too. Not a cheap task, methinks, when added on top of the actual launch trials to prove it, and the integration onto our vessels.
As an interrim weapon, my money is still on upgrading Harpoon- unless there’s an RAF/RN inter-service push to get NSM on every platform capable of taking it.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

SPEAR 3 and Sea Venom have pitiful warhead sizes for an anti-shipping role. Not to mention neither have a particularly spectacular range nor speed, nor kinetic energy at the end of flight time (eliminating the chance of ‘pop-up’ manoeuvres and such forth).

Whilst SPEAR 3 can be used against corvette sized vessels in a pinch (and maybe scoring mission kills by eliminating the radar of larger ships), they are relatively easy to shoot down and do not replace Harpoon in the heavyweight anti-ship missile category.

Mark B
Mark B
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Yes. I think perhaps what I was trying to say was that we should adapt what we already have to fit the role or buy off the shelf rather than reinventing the wheel?
John has mentioned LRASM is there anything else an the market?

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

A new missile will be bought off the shelf within the next 3 years until we develop our own solution with the French in 2030. LRASM is a good option if we had chosen to equip the entire fleet (including air-launched from F35s). However, they are expensive and we currently only intend to procure 5 launchers for 5 of the Type 23 frigates. In my opinion it seems to be a little pricey for just 5 sets, especially if the future Anglo-French missile overlaps its capabilities. Another option is the Norwegian Strike Missile, which is far cheaper (albeit a smaller… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

LRASM hasn’t been qualified by anyone for surface launch yet and may never be by the USN, so it really isn’t an option unless the UK wants to be lead customer for surface launch, which seems very unlikely for an interim solution. Its only in EOC/IOC on F-18, B-1B and planned for P8 currently. Additionally, assuming LRASM was for some reason chosen for surface launch, then NSM is less expensive at $2M+ (annual quantities of 15-18) versus LRASM at ~$3.5M (annual quantities of 48) – source US Fiscal 2021 DoD budget. Neither is cheap. I had also previously understood NSM… Read more »

ETH
ETH
3 months ago

I hadn’t known LRASM wasn’t surface launched yet – thanks. I suppose that just leaves NSM unless they drop their ‘terrain following maritime land-attack capability’ from the list of requirements.

The mid level (NSM) makes sense as an interim which can be put on the Type 31s (once they’re finished on the Type 23s) as a last resort OTH heavyweight anti-ship capability.

If we then choose to procure JSM as an AShM for the F35s they can be used in combination with FC/ASW for the carrier strike group.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

I had also been going down the path of NSM/JSM as both an interim and long term solution in addition to FC/ASW as they are different weight and range classes. Who knows maybe that’s what happens. But that was also with a circa $1M price tag. At a closer price point, I started to wonder how much sense it made having the mid-level solution. It may still make sense, if we think the threat environment for the next decade justifies it, given others are paying for F35 integration costs, land and sea based aircraft being the most likely UK delivery… Read more »

ETH
ETH
3 months ago

Block 4 comes in 2024 at the earliest, though it may be delayed in conjunction with delays of the production schedule. So likely around 5 years. Which makes me think that they won’t bother and will just procure the bare minimum of 5 sets of 8 launchers for the GP Type 23s.

Though, do we know if FC/ASW will be air launched? I suppose it’s something that is being discussed at the moment. I know that France will likely want an air launched Exocet replacement.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Its interesting that the interim missile is actually specified in the RfP for 5x towed array T23 and not GP variants.

FC/ASW will definitely include air launch variant as it replaces Storm Shadow.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago

If LRASM doesn’t become surface launched, what will the USN use in the future as an AshM for their fleet?

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

In theory there is supposed to be the US Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare (OASuW)/Increment 2 program for the long term US ASM solution. Its overdue to be started. What we refer to as LRASM, aka AGM-158C, is supposed to be an interim urgent capability that was awarded to Lockheed without competition. That last part is probably the largest reason AGM-158C isn’t being qualified for surface launch, at least for now, given the howls of protest that would arise from Lockheed competitors and political opposition to lack of competition. These are the US options that I’m aware of that might form part… Read more »

ETH
ETH
3 months ago

I’d imagine SM6 has too small a warhead to be a primary anti-ship missile, and NSM too small a range. Thanks for the info, I’d assumed LRASM would be the next USN AShM for a while and not such a stop gap solution.

Steve R
Steve R
3 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

At the moment the options are:

– LRASM
– NSM/JSM
– Harpoon Block II

Personly I think we should go with Harpoon block II.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Is harpoon block 2 an option? I thought one of the requirements was a terrain following land attack capability?

James Fennell
James Fennell
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve R

Harpoon is not an option as RfP defines land attack capability. Also RBS 15 Mk 4 is in mix.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

I wonder if that land attack capability survives the tender process though? Particularly as the tender also stated (italic bolding is mine) “It is anticipated that the I-SSGW capability will operate on X 5 Type 23 (Towed Array) frigates capable of concurrent Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) operations in protection of a formed Maritime Tasking Group, for a 10-year period.” I could see using Towed Array T23 for ASuW with a CSG, although an aircraft delivered weapon might be better, but with carriers well off shore it doesn’t seem a good fit for land attack with the… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago

Your reasoning makes a lot of sense, land attack missiles aren’t a whole lot of use int he GIUK gap! Potentially the SCS and Gulf though.
Harpoon Block II does have land attack capability, having incorporated guidance bits from JDAM and SLAM land attack weapons- according to Boeing. If that is the case, that’d be my choice for an interim weapon. If we’re going to keep the interim weapons on and fit them to T31 after introduction of FC/ASW, then I’d probably go with Nsm/JSM.

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Harpoon Block II does have land attack capability, having incorporated guidance bits from JDAM and SLAM land attack weapons- according to Boeing.
I really like the RBS15, but it seems to not offer enough improvement for an interim system over Harpoon for the price tag. I may be wrong though.

Meirion X
Meirion X
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Agreed!

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Is SPEAR 3 easy to shoot down? That seems to be a bit of an assumption. It won’t be much good in its primary role for SEAD/DEAD against S400/500 systems or Chinese equivalents if it is. Also, perhaps launching a mix of missiles, some with warheads plus others with the the EW capability also plays into the picture.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago

I am talking as an individual missile relative to something like the LRASM, NSM (or even harpoon). SPEAR3 is a networked missile which will excel in large quantities. Whilst it will do well in large numbers, it just doesn’t have the punch to knock out a large ship.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

OK, although I’m not sure I would assume even on an individual basis that its that easy to kill SPEAR 3 versus other larger sub-sonic candidates.

I don’t think anyone is expecting this level of missile or even Sea Venom to be ship killers. They might be, especially the latter, against small missile boats such as those used by Iran though, or would likely disable the craft/kill the crew. Against larger vessels, a saturation attack could well destroy all air defence sensors and the bridge, especially if the warhead works in conjunction with any remaining fuel to cause widespread fire.

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

I defy any ship to continue fighting after multiple Spear 3 hits, that have targeted specific points. You don’t have to sink the ship to achieve a mission kill. Granted, this may be different if you decided to use them against a carrier rather than a frigate. Mind you I suspect a swarm of Spear 3s attacking specific points on a carrier could still achieve a mission kill, such as targeting the catapult rails. If a single F35 can launch at least 16 Spear 3s at a ship and 50% are intercepted, the remaining 8 will still be capable of… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

It was not easy to sink a battleship. The Rodney turned the Bismark into a colander even though it did not sink. But its first hit wiped out the conning tower. It’s not an issue about sinking ships is it though. It’s about disabling them.

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Disabling ships only gets you so far

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

What? Many people make your mistake .Don’t look at warships as ships. Look at them as a system of interlinked systems. If you take down a system you can degrade or cripple the whole ship. Ignoring the obvious radars, guns, missile silos etc, just hit Wind speed and direction anemometers …those simple little whirly buckets that tell you the strength and direction of the wind…Warships can we can live without thoseyes? No? ….No You cannot. Destroy those and the wind speed input into the EW Chaff launchers is gone so launching decoys is no longer computer controlled and automatic.Its manual… Read more »

ETH
ETH
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I absolutely agree with you, mission killing a ship can be as impactful as sinking it. I’m not arguing against that.

However, in a war of attrition, do you not think it would also be effective to have the capability of completely putting a ship out of service (if not sinking it) using heavier munitions?

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Putting a ship out of action is the key. How you achieve that is obviously dependent on weapons available. However damage is preferable to sinking. The same goes for the land battlefield where a wounded soldier is better than a killed soldier. Taking care of wounded troops and damaged ships eats resources and manpower so those resources cannot be used elsewhere. A mission kill on a ship will lead to say using an ocean going tug to move it to port and manpower ashore to fix it. Until its removed from the operational theater to port it will have assets… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 months ago
Reply to  ETH

Range is certainly an issue, but don’t forget you don’t need to sink a ship to render it ineffective. Both SPEAR 3 and Sea Venom could deliver a mission kill hit to the bridge, radar or other vital area, removing the combatant from the fight.

I wonder quite often how obsolete is Harpoon? Has there been a step change in our likely adversaries countermeasures or do we measure it against our own?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

Spear 3 as a possible ASM was well covered in the Spear article recently.

Rob Collinson
Rob Collinson
3 months ago

It is beyond belief that they have not got their fingers out to sort a permanent or a temporary replacement to uphold this vital capability.

Alba Seaborne
Alba Seaborne
3 months ago

They have to have something to put on the decks of the 23s & 45s attached to the QE tour later this year or it would look embarrassing and the keyboard warriors will have a field day.
As for interim, remember there’s a budget so forget LRASM it will be Blockll Harpoon, maybe NSM

JohnN
JohnN
3 months ago

I think the UK is caught between a rock and a hard place (Catch 22), in selecting an ‘interim’ AShM capability. The questions that I would ask, cost? How long will the ‘Interim’ capability be operational? What happens to the systems and missiles when replaced? Can they be re-used? Harpoon – the cheapest/simplest solution would be to upgrade existing stock to block II. LRASM – is currently ‘air’ launch on B-1B and F/A-18E/F, will shortly be integrated into P-8A, has been test launched from Mk41 VLS and box launch, but not necessarily certified. NSM – is currently operational, can be… Read more »

D J
D J
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnN

I have also been highlighting the fact that NSM & JSM are related but not the same for some time. Your link is well out of date (9 years ago). JSM seeker is no longer the same as NSM, so they have grown even further apart in the last 4-5 years.

JohnN
JohnN
3 months ago
Reply to  D J

Mate, yes I’m well aware the link is old and out of date. But the point was to show how different the two missiles are.

And yes I’ve been pointing out for years that NSM and JSM are not the same missile too.

Cheers,

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnN

Thanks for the link, I was aware that JSM was the air-launched version of the NSM, but didn’t realise the differences were as broad- intakes and everything. Also, it would seem that the JSM is not technically out of development phase yet?
I’m still picking Harpoon block II for interim weapon, for the reasons you give.

JohnN
JohnN
3 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Mate, the link I put up is old, very old, but it does show the basic differences between NSM and JSM. JSM development has come a long way since that article.

Norway and Japan should have JSM in their inventory in the next few years for internal carriage on their F-35A aircraft, this will align with the Block 4 update on F-35.

Here in Oz the RAAF is also likely to order JSM for its F-35A, it hasn’t happened yet, but the Australian Government has contributed development funds to the program.

Cheers,

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnN

Ah, I comitted the cardinal sin of not looking at the issue date of the article..! I hadn’t realised that your government had contributed towards it- they’d be mad not to buy some then- especially as you’re picking up P-8As too ( which I believe the Norwegians are planning on integrating with JSM too). I guess the question then becomes whether they’re going to be implementing surface launch on the JSM- that seems to be the more future proof way round of doing things. Even so, I’m not sure it’s worth the UK buying it as a solely interim weapon… Read more »

JohnN
JohnN
3 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Hi mate, whilst it looks pretty likely that JSM will be procured for internal carriage on the RAAF F-35A fleet (can also be externally carried by Super Hornet too), it’s looking less likely that RAAF P-8A will carry JSM. Mid last year the Oz Government announced the procurement of 200 LRASM, initially for the Super Hornet fleet. They also announced on the 30th of last month that the P-8A fleet will be increased from 12 to 14 and also officially announced that LRASM will be integrated (its been known for a while the USN is integrating LRASM onto their P-8A… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnN

I think that’s not a bad set up to have I suppose- a pretty simple High/Low, Long range/short range, heavyweight/”light”weight combination for both the RAAF and RAN.
I would be surprised if we get everything tied together on multiple platforms in that way- that doesn’t seem to be something that UK armed forces do very often to be honest.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

The MoD seem to be increasingly working on commonality across platforms in missiles. We shouldn’t expect identical missiles though, in the same way that NSM and JSM aren’t identical. We should expect commonality of software, seeker/sensors, engine, warhead, mission planning, communications, with the possibility for more. The FC/ASW goal is air, surface and sub-surface launch. Each of those solutions might have a different outward appearance/variant but with the core commonality to help drive purchase and support (maintenance, training, updates/upgrades) cost reduction. If the program is successful in its goals, the missile will replace Harpoon, Tomahawk and Storm Shadow in UK… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
3 months ago

You make a fair point, and perhaps I shouldn’t be quite as sceptical. At the same time though, we have Martlet and Sea Venom cleared for RN Wildcat only (not the AAC ones, which can only designate targets for AH-64); Hellfire on AH64 only (until/if Brimstone 2 is officially fitted) with no guided rockets for them at all; Brimstone is Typhoon only until/if it gets to AH-64, but doesn’t seem to be going onto F-35B because of the upcoming implementation of Spear 3 (even though their ranges and speed put them in different brackets of use); Stingray is on wildcat… Read more »

Oscar Zulu
Oscar Zulu
3 months ago
Reply to  JohnN

Harpoon Block II is in service with the RAN with fired first war shot fired at RIMPAC over a decade ago in 2010. So currently the RAN fields a ASuM with (limited) land attack capability on both Hobart and Anzac classes, with Harpoon II to be the initial baseline weapon on the Hunter class until replaced by a future anti-ship missile with LRASM or NSM the obvious contenders. 200 LRASM were approved for procurement in early 2020 for the RAAF’s Super Hornets but will ultimately also be qualified for the RAAF’s fleet of P8s now to be 14 airframes in… Read more »

JohnN
JohnN
3 months ago
Reply to  Oscar Zulu

Hi mate, couple of amendments to your post.

By the end of this year, 2021, when the last Classic Hornet Sqn parks it’s aircraft to start its transition to F-35A, the JASSM capability will disappear, hopefully the LRASM capability is available on the Super Hornets without too much of a capability gap.

As for F-35A deliveries, yes there are now 30 aircraft here in Oz, but there are also another three in the US preparing for their ferry flight shortly.

Cheers,

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

If anyone in Complex Missiles has any sence(They do… I have known a few people who have worked in that team!) it will be an interim fit of Harpoon Ii with a possible +. The RN is not going to spend time and money ripping out cabling and cabinets,, installing new, retraining maintainers and operators and recertifying Ammo Depot workers on a new system. Harpoon II is good enough with a basic land attack capability using GPS. You can also mod the existing missiles up to II+ standard if you want to or buy new. The RN is not going… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Down to earth post. This contract maintains the existing capability and if selected, enables the smooth implementation of Harpoon Block II.
I would guess the favourite option, if they are suitable, would be to upgrade the existing missiles. Ticks all the boxes apart from terrain following capability.

https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2019/01/u-s-navy-exercises-option-for-79-harpoon-block-ii-upgrade-kits/

Daveyb
Daveyb
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Personally I think the Harpoon upgrade is a short term fix, it doesn’t solve the fleetwide issue.

Better to bite the bullet now and get a replacement system.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

SPEAR Cap 5 aka FC/ASW is the planned/hoped for long term replacement though and as I outlined in response to Joe16 above it has multiple benefits over committing now, even to something as capable as the NSM-JSM program; adopting the latter for anything other than interim use might very well kill the FC/ASW program aside from GB’s other points. The ASM question we need to address is largely political. Do we expect to deploy the RN surface fleet into a situation over the next 10-15 years where a surface-surface engagement using surface launched ASM is likely, i.e. a full peer-on-peer… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago

There are two scenarios that the Navy will likely face in the very near future, asymmetric threats and peer vs peer. The asymmetric threats could be from state sponsored groups like those in Yemen. Whilst peer threats could be obstruction from freedom of navigation sailing in disputed waters, where someone has decided to step over the line. I think it has become painfully obvious to the Navy that we cannot put all our eggs in one basket, in this case TLAM on SSNs and relying on torpedoes to sink ships. The small number of boats that we have and are… Read more »

Glass Half full
Glass Half full
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

We agree more than we differ on most of these points. I think the FC/ASW program exists, with the scope it has, precisely because the RN and RAF needed a more comprehensive suite of ASM and land attack capabilities in a modern missile and recognised this many years ago, along with the French. I don’t think many would argue that Harpoon is the weapon we should choose for a new platform today, given a free choice. However, Gunbuster in his recent response to Challenger, outlines what integrating NSM would involve as an interim replacement for Harpoon, especially how long it… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago

Sorry GHF, I was reading out of context and was getting a bit ranty, – upper lip reset. To be brutally honest I don’t believe Iran are stupid enough to directly attack one of our ships. They have learned it is better for them to you a proxy, as they are doing in Yemen. This is where it’s more likely for someone to have a go at a passing ship. MInd you looking at the effectiveness of the missiles launched towards the USS Mason, we may not be overly concerned. It was likely targeted with Iranian Noor missiles, which are… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

No apology necessary. I do think a navy’s priority for ASM is tied to where they are most likely to operate and the associated threats in that region. Along with whether a country has any option to withdraw from a region, or not have a compelling need/requirement/commitment to go there in the first place in a hot war. Constrained waters like the Baltic drive smaller ships and ASMs since the countries are all on top of each other and have nowhere to go. Perhaps why Sweden is one of the countries to develop a relatively modern ASM along with its… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I view the main issues to be urgency; that implementation scope needs to be as fast as possible on as many vessels as possible and that the cost needs fo be in proportion to the capability gained. So although NSM is a better missile than Harpoon II + I think the latter is the way to go. I accept it does lack a deep strike terrain following land attack mode but my understanding is that a combination of GPS, active radar and in flight redirect would meet the RN’s main targeting need to comply with their terms of engagement reservations… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

That’s the problem with Harpoon. Yes it will have a datalink so the operator can redirect it during flight if its been spoofed. However, the operator will only be able to see what the Harpoon’s missile will see. Unless there is a friendly nearby that can confirm what the target is and if the missile is going for it or not. It will still have issues of dealing with a ship’s countermeasures such as chaff or expendable reflective decoys.

Best way of improving Harpoon would be to fit it with a combined radar and IR seeker.

Paul.P
Paul.P
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Well yes, but then you would probably select NSM or RBS-15. No chance a Wildcat could act as spotter for Harpoon I suppose? That Seaspray 7000E radar looks good enough to stand off outside the range of most shipborne ASM.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Something is going to have to provide targeting for over the horizon missiles. Distance to the radar horizon for most escorts is around 30km. So beyond that we’re either relying on other ships closer to the target, air assets, space assets or some other intelligence. Wildcat will need to provide targeting for its own Sea Venom anti-ship missiles. So it is at least conceptually possible for Wildcat to provide/confirm targets and perhaps take control for mid-flight updates on Harpoon, if its in the right sector and/or at the appropriate altitude to see targets at greater distances. UAVs might also come… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago

Helos on RN vessels regularly practise OTH targeting. It has been and remains a core tasking on Harpoon equipped ships from the old B3 T22 to current T23 and T45.

geoff
geoff
3 months ago

Am truly amazed at the depth of knowledge on this forum although most of it is double dutch to me! I only hope that the powers that be have the good sense and humility to read UKDJ among other publications before making final decisions.

donald_of_tokyo
donald_of_tokyo
3 months ago

Harpoon blk II+ relies on GPS and INS for land attack. What if there is a GPS jamar? (I think there will be). Its a JDAM-like on land attack. NSM has “GPS-aided mid-course guidance with a dual-band imaging infrared (IIR) seeker” (ref. Naval Technology). JSM has similar (advanced?) system added with passive radar sensor. NSM is said to “retrofit JSM capability in due course”, but its time frame is yet to be announced. LRASM also has IIR seeker with jam-tolerant GPS, and passive radar sensor. I understand, NSM, JSM and LRASM has the capability for agile terminal maneuver, while Harpoon… Read more »

Grant
Grant
3 months ago

NSM / JSM for both F35 and surface ships would be logical. LSRAM someway off.

John Hartley
John Hartley
3 months ago

Harpoon II+ is the version with the data link, that would allow its use in waters where there are neutral/friendlies, as well as enemy vessels. I think Boeing offered to upgrade earlier Harpoon to II+ standard. Might be a good interim weapon for the RN.
If you want to be jealous, the Royal Canadian Navy releases a data sheet on their version of the T26. I think it is 10 metres longer, has a 4th MK41 8x cell, internal torpedo tubes, + 8 (2×4) Kongsberg NSM. There is an article at navalnews.com

Challenger
Challenger
3 months ago

LRASM seem too expensive and complex for a stop-gap. Rather than faffing around i’d buy 5 sets of NSM that’s cheaper and tried/tested, wire all remaining T23’s and T45’s to receive them and then rotate them on and off depending on the deployment. Once FCASW provides a proper heavyweight missile i’d look to add MK41 silo’s to the T45’s and bring an air-launched version into service for maximum availability. All this should have been planned and pursued 5-10 years ago but as ever dither and delay has left us with no air-launched AhSM and a handful of box launched replacements… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

If only “wiring them to receive NSM” was that easy. Through bulkhead glands to be ripped and and new installed. These also need pressure testing for Citadel CBRNDC purposes. Compartments and passageways ripped out to pull out the old cables and install new. Rip out Power supply consoles in the Harpoon power room. Cut off the old support structures on the decks inside and out for cabinets and launchers and weld in new support structures. Install new power cabinets and adjust the power supply auto change over breakers from the Switch boards and Electrical distribution centers. Certify the missiles for… Read more »

Challenger
Challenger
3 months ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

In which case fair play! Maybe a handful of Harpoon 2 now to paper over the gap until FCASW arrives.

I’d still try and get the latter onto more types than solely T26 and pursue an air-launched version for F35 too.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
3 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

That may well be the long term aim. Complex Missiles really does have its S**t together and is getting good systems at a far cheaper cost than anyone ever dreamt of being possible. Commonality of system components and multi service use is a huge advantage and saving.
literally more bang for a buck!

sophie
sophie
1 month ago

which time the missile will retired?