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The US, UK and other nations have purchased integrated logistics and engineering services support for their Harpoon missiles.

The Harpoon anti-ship missile was due to be retired from Royal Navy service in 2018, that however later changed. According to a government spokesperson earlier in the year:

“There is work ongoing to look at options for longer extension in service.”

According to a contract award notification:

“The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded $10,326,551 for firm-fixed-price, delivery order N0001918F0520 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0001).  This delivery order provides for procurement of Harpoon/SLAM-ER missile system and Harpoon launch systems follow-on integrated logistics and engineering services support for the Navy; and various foreign military sales (FMS) customers.  

Work will be performed in St. Charles, Missouri (91.84 percent); St. Louis, Missouri (5.47 percent); Yorktown, Virginia (2.64 percent); and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 0(.05 percent), and is expected to be completed in February 2020.  Fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance (Navy); and foreign military sales funds in the amount of $10,326,551 are being obligated on this award; $2,473,484 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  

This contract combines purchases for the Navy ($2,473,484; 23.95 percent); and the governments of Korea ($1,035,098; 10.02 percent); Taiwan ($779,021; 7.54 percent); Turkey ($677,959; 6.57 percent); Egypt ($635,628; 6.16 percent); Japan ($611,881; 5.93 percent); Saudi Arabia ($595,464; 5.77 percent); Australia ($445,323; 4.31 percent); United Kingdom ($406,934; 3.94 percent); India ($334,131; 3.24 percent); Canada ($316,590; 3.06 percent); Chile ($309,813; 3 percent); Singapore ($252,498; 2.45 percent); Israel ($251,591; 2.44 percent); Thailand ($228,085; 2.21 percent); Bahrain ($166,383; 1.60 percent); United Arab Emirates ($159,890; 1.55 percent); Kuwait ($133,398; 1.29 percent); Oman ($127,837; 1.24 percent); Malaysia ($121,832; 1.18 percent); Germany ($85,178; 0.82 percent); Portugal ($72,060; 0.70 percent); Netherlands ($63,884; 0.62 percent); and Denmark ($42,589; 0.41 percent) under the Foreign Military Sales program. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.”

Royal Navy ships were originally to lose anti-ship missile capability in 2018 when the Harpoon missile is withdrawn with a replacement not due until ‘around 2030’.

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.

 

35 COMMENTS

  1. Forgive my ignorance, but would this just cover a software upgrade and service of the current inventory?
    Can’t imagine $406,934 would purchase much in the defence world.

      • And perhaps compatibility with newer systems. The breakdown of contributions is fascinating, and just goes to show how difficult it is to compete on a single nation basis with so much software and hardware. That’s the UK paying just £310,000 for £7.7 million’s worth of maintenance / upgrades.

        Sensible decision anyway.

  2. Not entirely sure this is a win for the Royal Navy or not, ROE around fire and forget heavy anti ship missiles are a nightmare!

    FC/ASW sounds far more like the weapon the RN needs as it can be used in multiple roles as a smart munition.

  3. Confusing as the SLAM-ER is a different missile to the Harpoon that is only air launched. So are they saying the UK is going to purchase the Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response for its Poseidon fleet ?

  4. Although dumb Cold War heavy weight anti shipping missiles are not much use barring amagedon. It does seem that keeping up the capability for the price of a 3 bed house is not unreasonable.

    My concern is that:
    1)The actual price is much higher ( RN having to keep a very old bit of kit in the pipeline is not going to be cheap.
    2)it lets the government of the hook for sorting a clever 21c missile that actually hits the right ship……

    • Yeah, but keeps an actual capability and deterrent capability while putting off a replacement until all the other expenditure is, perhaps, getting stabilised. Seems sensible to me, so much else is being modernised, and anti-ship is indeed a relatively Armageddon capability.

    • $400k isn’t an “upgrade” though.
      It for supporting the existing missiles.

      Boeing have an upgraded version of the Harpoon with much longer range traded for a smaller warhead and seeker improvements.

      Buying new or upgrading old missiles to that version would be more costly, but still just a rounding error in the UK government expenditure.

      • No capability upgrades but out of interest does this life extension involve some engineering work, maybe things like replacing solid fuel that is past its sell by date and other stuff like that – a bit like how servicing a car includes replacing oil, spark plugs, etc? I’m not trying to make any sort of point by the way, I’m just curious.

        Also, does anyone know how long after the previously planned 2018 withdrawal date this project will keep the U.K. Harpoons in service for?

    • Personally I’m really not so fussed about Harpoon on T45 in the upcoming carrier group world.

      With the deplorable hulls we’ll get from our 6 T45 I suspect it will be rare that we’ll see a T45 deployed outside a carrier group(s) and in that context there would be aircraft, an Astute and T23 for anti ship capabilities (and hopefully T26 might have something worthwhile in its MK41s at some point in the not massively distant future). In that scenario T45 can afford to concentrate on its AAW role.

  5. Type 26 still have their 5″ guns to attack other ships. Shame that the other ships will have probably blown them away before they come into range.

    It’s essential war fighting kit: keep it going or buy a temporary replacement like the Norwegian one.

    One day many lives could be lost & kit lost when we’re caught out playing capability gap roulette.

    • Short term capability gaps, though clearly undesirable I can understand at times but how the hell do you get to a position where test gap is ‘planned’ to be around 12 years. It’s like circa 1905 instead of building new dreadnoughts we decided to remove the guns of the ships we have

      • True Stuart – MPA is prime example – 19yrs will have elapsed from when Nimrod was cancelled until the 9 P-8s are all in service. Shameful! It’s not that we can’t afford it, it’s that we are choosing not to spend what clearly we need and for that our politicians on all sides need their arses kicked!!

  6. It’s money very well spent. Hopefully, LRASMs will be purchased for the Type 26 frigates. In the meantime, our retention of Harpoon capability should at least give hostile warships pause for thought.

    • It should never have happened in the 1st place if the MOD/HMG was run properly. Would you allow cars with no wheels? Police sirens being phased out with years without? Hospitals with no beds? MPs with no expenses or annual rises… …hang on, that may be an idea…
      It’s good that something is being done to mitigate, but we should never be in the situation to start with. We truly are governed by imbeciles.

  7. 400k wont even buy you one missile.
    I doubt it will get you very much at all.
    Probably a software update to the Fire Control Console and a few new circuit boards to go on the shelf in Naval Stores.

    • Yes, Boeing is likely dropping support for early versions of the software. We are probably buying the minimum to get the system to a level they will support.

  8. Funny how all our potential opponents seem to have little problem providing very good ASMs & usually complete weapons fits & platforms. May be I should start selling life size models of all the kit, weapons & aircraft we need & should have so we can appear to have fully equipped forces?

    Just hope nobody rumbles that the emperor has no clothes.

    There should be sackings, fines & even imprisonment for taking/keeping the necessary kit from our armed forces. If an enemy had achieved it, it would rightly be called sabotage.

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