WASHINGTON — Planned upgrades to the U.S. Navy’s current anti-ship missile are in line for a big cash windfall, courtesy of Capitol Hill.
Boeing’s Harpoon stands to be among the big winners coming out of this week’s National Defense Authorization Act conference after playing a starring role in recent sinking exercises at the Rim of the Pacific exercise.
The venerable anti-ship missile is being upgraded by Boeing to a Block II+ version, modifications that the House and Senate authorizers backed to the tune of $26.8 million, according to the NDAA conference report. The money must still be appropriated by a separate committee. The House of Representatives passed the NDAA on Thursday. It awaits passage in the Senate and President Donald Trump’s signatures.
The funding, which is $12 million more than what the Navy asked for, would go to the Block II+ upgrades, which include GPS and a data link that allows operators to change the missile’s target in flight.
The U.S. Navy expects to declare initial operational capability on Harpoon Block II+ this year, according to a recent Boeing release, and said it continues to develop an extended-range Harpoon.
The U.S. and partner nations successfully fired six Harpoons at RIMPAC, including a Harpoon from the attack submarine Olympia, which marks the first time the missile has been fired from a sub in more than 20 years, according to a Boeing news release.
Both Australian and American P-8 aircraft also fired Harpoons. While Boeing is working to upgrade the Harpoon, which can be fired from an F/A-18, a P-8 or from canisters on a ship, Raytheon is gunning for their business.
Raytheon’s Naval Strike Missile was just awarded a contract by the U.S. Navy to go on the littoral combat ship and the future frigate. Raytheon executives said this week the company was looking to replace Harpoon and other similar systems around the globe.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.