Royal Navy ships were to lose surface-to-surface anti-ship missile capability in 2018 when the Harpoon missile was originally to be withdrawn with a replacement not due until ‘around 2030’, the new interim missile will fill the upcoming gap.
Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the status of the interim surface-to-surface guided weapon is.”
Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, responded:
“The interim surface-to-surface guided weapon will replace the Royal Navy’s existing Harpoon missile capability. There was a healthy response from Industry to the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire and we are planning to proceed to issue an Invitation to negotiate to the down selected bidders later this year.”
This is inline with the timeframe earlier discussed by Quin who said last year:
“The Royal Navy has set the requirements for a Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon (SSGW) to ensure they maintain the ability to deter and defeat enemy warships. A competition is now taking place and on current plans, subject to funding, we expect bids to provide a solution to SSGW, 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 and a replacement not being due until 2030.
The Ministry of Defence issued a Prior Information Notice (PIN) for a “Next Generation Surface Ship Guided Weapon (SSGW)” to equip Royal Navy vessels..
The notice is as follows:
“Short description of nature and scope of works or nature and quantity or value of supplies or services:
The Authority has a possible future requirement to procure a next generation ship launched anti-ship weapon system for use within training and operational roles with the Royal Navy. First delivery of the ship installed equipment would be required by December 2022 and first delivery of missiles would be required by December 2023. The potential contract will be for 4 years, with the potential of option years to follow (up to 9 more years), the potential contract would cover the following activities:
Manufacture and delivery of the weapon system to be delivered in Financial Year 2023/2024.
Installation of the weapon system onto Royal Navy ships.
Provision and support of interface requirements to assist ships installation. Provision of train the trainer courses. Maintenance and technical support for the operational upkeep of the weapon system.
Should this requirement proceed, a Contract Notice will be published in due course with more precise requirements and interested parties will be invited to complete an online pre-qualification questionnaire, which will be measured against selected criteria in terms of commercial and technical requirements.
The technical requirement will be base lined against the user requirements and include questions regarding:
— battlefield effect,
— terminal effect,
— interoperability: climatic and environment,
— munition sensitivity,
— system and design safety,
— human factors,
— sustainability and supply chain,
— Capability resilience and reliability.
Evidence will be required at the PQQ stage to demonstrate the weapon system can meet the Authority’s requirement set. Estimated value excluding VAT: Range: between 100 000 000 and 200 000 000 GBP”
When Harpoon exits service in 2023 there will be a serious capability gap until the potential entry into service of FC/ASW programme in 2030 if this does not happen, warned a report published by the Defence Committee.
What could replace Harpoon?
The new interim missile will fill the gap between the retirement of Harpoon and its replacement which isn’t due until ‘around 2030’. You can read more about the options by visiting the article linked to below.