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The Boeing AGM-84 Harpoon is an all weather missile originally developed by McDonnell Douglas of United States, The production and development is now under the tutelage of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.


The Harpoon missile provides the Navy and the Air Force with a common missile for air, ship, and submarine launches. The weapon system uses mid-course guidance with a radar seeker to attack surface ships. Its low-level, sea-skimming cruise

Harpoon Block II test firing from USS Decatur.

trajectory, active radar guidance and warhead design assure high survivability and effectiveness. The Harpoon missile and its launch control equipment provide the warfighter capability to interdict ships at ranges well beyond those of other aircraft.

One success story from Operation Allied Force was the development of techniques for employing Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM) from Navy aircraft. SLAM provided the Joint Task Force and the Joint Force Air Component Commander with new flexibility to strike mobile targets on short notice.

The Harpoon missile was designed to sink warships in an open-ocean environment. Other weapons (such as the Standard and Tomahawk missiles) can be used against ships, but Harpoon and Penguin are the only missiles used by the United States military with anti-ship warfare as the primary mission. Once targeting information is obtained and sent to the Harpoon missile, it is fired. Once fired, the missile flys to the target location, turns on its seeker, locates the target and strikes it without further action from the firing platform. This allows the firing platform to engage other threats instead of concentrating on one at a time.

An appropriately configured HARPOON can be launched from an AERO-65 bomb rack, AERO-7/A bomb rack, MK 6 canister, MK 7 shock resistant canister, MK 12 thickwall canister, MK 112 ASROC launcher, MK 8 and MK 116 TARTAR launcher, or submarine torpedo tube launcher.

Submarines fire a capsule containing the Harpoon from their torpedo tubes. When the capsule breaches the surface, the top is blown off and the missile is launched. Aircraft launched Harpoons do not require a Booster. Depending upon launch conditions, the Harpoon engine generally will not start until after the missile is dropped from the wing. This allows firing from higher altitudes and longer range flights. The Guidance Section consists of an active radar seeker and radome, Missile Guidance Unit (MGU), radar altimeter and antennas, and power converter. The MGU consists of a three-axis attitude reference assembly (ARA) and a digital computer/power supply (DC/PS). Prior to launch, the DC/PS is initialized with data by the Command Launch System. After launch, the DC/PS uses the missile acceleration data from the ARA and altitude data from the radar altimeter to maintain the missile on the programmed flight profile. After seeker target acquisition, the DC/PS uses seeker data to guide the missile to the target.

The Warhead Section consists of a target-penetrating, load-carrying steel structure containing 215 pounds of high explosive (DESTEX) and a safe-and-arm/contact fuze assembly. The safe-and-arm/contact fuze assembly ensures the warhead will not explode until after the missile is launched. It is designed to explode the warhead after impacting the target. The warhead section can be replaced by an exercise section which transmits missile performance data for collection and analysis.

The Sustainer Section consists of a fuel tank with JP-10 fuel, air inlet duct, and a jet engine. This provides the thrust to power the missile during sustained flight. The Sustainer Section has four fixed fins which provide lift.

The Control Section consists of four electromechanical actuators which use signals from the Guidance Section to turn four fins which control missile motion.

The Booster Section consists of a solid fuel rocket and arming and firing device. Surface and submarine platforms use a booster to launch Harpoon and propel it to a speed at which sustained flight can be achieved. The Booster Section separates from the missile before sustained flight begins.

The submarine Harpoon is contained within a capsule and is called ENCAP for encapsulated. The ENCAP is the same size and general shape of a blunt nosed torpedo and is launched from submarine torpedo tubes. It has positive buoyancy (it floats), so when it is ejected from the submarine, it will rise to the surface, without power. The ENCAP consists of a nosecap, main body and afterbody. The missile is on shock isolator rails within the main body. The afterbody has fins which direct the ENCAP towards the surface at the proper angle for missile launch. Once the ENCAP breaches the surface, the nosecap is blown off by a small rocket and the missile is launched.

The Harpoon missile was developed in the early 1970s. Numerous upgrades have kept it at the forefront of missile capabilities, including the Block 1 introduced in 1978, and the Block 1B introduced in 1981. Today, the latest variant developed in 1982 called Block 1C is deployed by the United States military (Navy and Air Force) as well as US allies. New developments are constantly being evaluated. Although originally planned to be in use until 2015, there is no plan to develop a replacement by the USN. There are continuing, extensive efforts (testing and analysis) to ensure no detrimental effects of missile aging. With budget constraints projected into the future, Harpoon will be employed past 2015.


Harpoon Block 1

  • RGM-84A, Block 1A: First production version.
  • RGM-84B: Modified version of the Royal Navy.
  • RGM-84C, Block 1B: The "pop-up maneuver was removed fro

    AGM-84 Harpoon in a U.S Navy's F/A-18 Hornet

    m the software, the rocket flies its goal all the way to just above the water surface ("sea-skimming").
  • RGM-84D, Block 1C: The use of the new JP-10-Fuel has the range to 220 km increased. In addition to improved ECCM Equipment is now the trajectory ("pop-up" or "sea-skimming") are set before the launch. Furthermore, waypoints can now be set (requires AN/SWG-1A-Feuer-Kontroll-System). The unit price amounts to about 720,000 U.S$.
  • AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM), Block 1E: This version is actually a complete rewrite. Rather than against sea targets for the rocket attacks against land targets was designed. For this, the imaging infrared seeker the AGM-65D Maverick and the data link of the AGM-62 Walleye built into the housing of the Harpoon. Besides the radar seeker, which has been developed, almost all components of the sea target version are identical. The Endphasenlenkung requires manual introduction to the target. For this, the pilot relies on its display a crosshair to assign a target of the missile. This is realized with a 2-way data link and the FLIR sensor. Because of this Endphasenlenkung can only use the SLAM from aircraft.
  • RGM-84F, Block 1D: By extending the reach of the fuel tank could be increased further. Because of the greater length was not a submarine-based version (UGM) is possible. The planned purchase was prior to production but because of the breakup of the Soviet Union.
  • RGM-84G, Block 1G: This version has been produced since 1995 and is a block 1C with new software. It also has a revised control logic, which allows her to repeat a failed attack, if the fuel still goes up and recognize the seeker the failure. The 1G version is produced by the upgraded missile-1C version.
  • AGM-84H Stand-off Land Attack Missile - Expanded Response (SLAM-ER: This version was based on the AGM-84E (SLAM. Note the be folded wings (similar to the BGM-109 Tomahawk), Which have increased the range significantly. The new AN/DSQ-61-Navigation system includes a INS Module also interference- GPS Receiver. The immunity of the data link has been improved. For target acquisition in the final phase of an imaging infrared seeker is integrated, which should be resistant to laser-based countermeasures. The warhead (WDU B-40) with 360 kg has a greater impact than the previously used WDU-18/B (221 kg). Also, the warhead Titan strengthened to ensure the effectiveness against hardened targets (such as Bunker increase). Tests have shown that the SLAM-ER and sea targets can be combated.
  • AGM-84K: This version includes several internal enhancements in hardware and software for the A

    AGM-84 Harpoon being carried by a F-16

    GM-84H. All currently existing H-variants to be upgraded to the K version.
  • AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER ATA: The last update is the latest ATA version of the H/K models. The ATA (Automatic Target Acquisition) update enables the missile to its target to detect automatically evaluated by comparing the IR images using an internal database and attack. The rocket that is only needed for a target sector, which scans them independently according to the programmed target. The upgrade was released in 2002 for the fleet, the current H / K models are an update may be subjected.

Harpoon Block 2

In 1996 McDonnell Douglas offered some improvements to the design of Harpoon. First, the program Harpoon 2000 named later Harpoon Block 2. The proposed improvements included a paired GPS/INS System, a radar detector with extended ECCM Capabilities and the installation of various SLAM components. The missile was internally RGM-84J undertaken but had little interest in the U.S. Navy and the project was initially frozen. It was decided at McDonnell Douglas, however, develop means for the export market. This version was designated RGM-84L. Countries interested in this version include Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Taiwan. South Korea has already bought the air-launched version (AGM-84L). Overall, more than 320 missiles were delivered at a price of around 200,000 U.S. $. In September 2008, requested India the supply of 20 AGM-84L. Since July 2009, all Block II Harpoon's are shipped with an improved steering system, including the improves the immunity of the GPS receiver.

Based on the Boeing Harpoon Block 2 has now also a version for land-based coastal defense developed. This is mounted on

RGM-84 (Harpoon's ship based variant) Harpoon being launched by a submarine

trucks and offers a high mobility.

Harpoon Block 3

In the spring of 2007 the U.S. Navy announced that it was interested in a further development of the AGM-84D. Therefore, Boeing has been commissioned to develop the Harpoon Block 3. In addition to the properties of the Harpoon Block 2, the rocket with a new data link (presumably Link 16) Which makes it possible to change the target data during the flight. Furthermore, should not be performed unnamed modifications that will improve performance in coastal waters. Through further adjustments in future it should also be possible from the Harpoon VLS Systems to start. All new systems are designed so that it can be installed as an upgrade to existing Harpoon missiles, which is from the U.S. Navy also planned accordingly. The provisional combat readiness (IOC) Is the beginning of 2011 can be achieved.


System AGM-84A/B/C AGM-84D / G AGM-84E AGM-84F AGM-84H / K AGM-84L (Block 2)
Length 3.85 m 3.85 m 4.50 m 4.44 m 4.37 m 3,84 m
Span 91.4 cm 91.4 cm 91.4 cm 91.4 cm 243 cm 91.4 cm
Diameter 34.3 cm 34.3 cm 34.3 cm 34.3 cm 34.3 cm 34.3 cm
Weight 520 kg 540 kg 627 kg 635 kg 725 kg 525 kg
Speed Mach 0,85 Mach 0.85 Mach 0.85 Mach 0.85 Mach 0.85 Mach 0.85
Range 120 km 220 km 93 km 315 km 280 km + 280 km
Steering INS Active radar homing INS, active radar homing INS, GPS, FLIR Data link INS, active radar homing INS, GPS, FLIR, data link INS, GPS, active radar homing
Warhead 221 kg HE-Frag 221 kg HE-Frag 221 kg HE-Frag 221 kg HE-Frag 360 kg, SAP 227 kg SAP

See also

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