The Harpoon missile was originally developed to serve as the Navy's basic anti-ship missile for fleetwide use. It has also been adapted for use by the B-52G bombers used by the Air Force. The Harpoon can be launched by surface ships, submarines, or (without the booster) by aircraft (such as the F-18 Hornet).
This missile is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile produced by Boeing (formerly McDonnell Douglas). The high survivability and effectiveness is assured by the active radar guidance, warhead design, and low-level, sea-skimming cruise trajectory. It was first introduced in 1977 and the air-launched version was first deployed on the Navy's P-3 Orion aircraft in 1979.
AGM-84E Harpoon/SLAM (Stand-Off Land Attack missile):
This version is used for long-range land attack precision strikes. It uses an internal navigation system with GPS, infrared terminal guidance, and is fitted with a Tomahawk warhead for better penetration.
SLAM-ER (Expanded Response):
This version is an upgrade currently in production. Improvements:
- greater range (150+ miles),
- a titanium warhead for increased penetration, and
- software improvements which allow the pilot to retarget the impact point of the missile during the terminal phase of attack (about the last five miles).
It is planned to convert more than 500 SLAM missiles to the SLAM-ER configuration between FY 1997 and FY 2001.
||Anti-to-surface anti-ship missile
||long range, air-launched precision attack cruise missile
||Navy and Air Force
||Boeing, ex McDonnell Douglas
||Teledyne Turbojet and solid propellant booster for surface and submarine launch
||660 pounds; 300 kg
|12 feet, 7 inches;
|14 feet, 8 inches;
|14 feet, 4 inches;
||13.5 inches; 24.29 cm
||3 feet; 91.44 cm
||7.158 feet; 2,1819 meters
||60+ nautical miles;
69.06 statue miles;
|150+ nautical miles;
||531 mph; 855 km/h
||Sea-skimming cruise with mid-course guidance monitored by radar altimeter, active seeker radar terminal homing
||internal navigation system with GPS, infrared terminal guidance
||ring laser gyro Inertial Navigation System (INS) with multi-channel GPS; infrared seeker for terminal guidance with Man-in-the-Loop control data link from the controlling aircraft. Upgraded missiles will incorporate Automatic Target Acquisition (ATA)
||Penetration high-explosive blast (488 pounds)
Air Force: 90
||A-6; F-18; S-3; P-3; B-52H, Ships
The Harpoon missile launchers
The Mk 141 Harpoon missile launchers joint the fleet in 1976 and today various surface combatants possess two of them.
In general one Mk 141 launcher consists of four tubes, but there are also versions with one or two ones.
With the commissioning of the PEGASUS-class (PHM 1 - class) a lighter version of the Mk 141 launcher deployed: the Mk 140.
|Weight (in tons)
|Number of tubes
||4 or 2 or 1
||4 (usually) or 2 or 1
||CG, DD, DDG
The Mk 140 and the Mk 141 launcher are not the only possibility to launch the Harpoon missile. The PERRY-class frigates for example are able to launch the Harpoon with their Mk 13 Standard missile launchers.
Click here to view Harpoon Gallery
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