Boeing has offered an upgraded anti-ship and land attack weapon, which doubles the range of the service’s existing Harpoon to US navy.
The Harpoon Next-Generation is a sea-skimming land, submarine, air or surface launched missile guided by GPS and inertial navigation systems for destroying a range of targets such as enemy ships, small boats and land targets, Military.com reported Tuesday.
The new Harpoon Next-Generation missile weighs 300 pounds has range of 134 nautical miles whereas the services’ existing warhead weighs 500 pounds and has range of 67 miles.
The Harpoon Next-Gen also adds the prospect of improved guidance technology, a new engine and new warhead to the existing 15-foot long Navy Block II Harpoon through the use of an upgrade kit or new build effort.
The advanced Harpoon will be offered in response to the Navy’s interest in acquiring a new, longer-range, over-the-horizon missile for its Littoral Combat Ship and new Frigate.
“Fundamentally it is adding more fuel to the weapon and going to a more fuel efficient engine. We are moving towards an alternate warhead. We’re looking at a couple of different warheads, including a 300-pound warhead that is smaller than the current warhead but still very effective,” said James Brooks, a Boeing director.
Boeing officials said that the missile is engineered to fire from Navy submarines and ships such as destroyers, frigates, patrol boats and aircraft including the F/A-18, F-15, F-16 and P-3 surveillance plane. It can also fire from a mobile, land-based truck platform, Boeing added.
The new warhead that is still being examined and refined by Boeing weapons developers is optimized for anti-ship attacks, Brooks added.
Boeing is in the early phases of planning a demonstration of Harpoon Next-Gen with the Navy of the new weapon sometime next year. Developers of the weapon said a new kind of guidance technology or seeker could be added to the weapon if desired by the Navy. Also, Boeing officials said additional data links and vertical launch technologies could be added as well.
The new weapon could be ready for service by 2017, company officials said.
Boeing officials said. The firm hopes to draw upon the existing inventory for upgrades because Harpoon Next-Gen uses the same size, dimensions and form factors as the existing original missile.