Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill has announced that Boeing will provide Harpoon Block II missile retrofit kits valued at approximately $20 million for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
The Boeing Harpoon Block II missile is an upgraded version of the Harpoon Block IG missile and is said to improve strike capabilities in congested littoral environments. The missile is also capable of attacking land-based coastal targets.
For conventional anti-ship missions, the inclusion of GPS/INS reportedly improves guidance to the target search area. In addition, the missile is programmed with information about areas to avoid when seeking its target. This information allows the Harpoon’s active radar seeker to better discriminate the target from islands, other obstructions or neutral ships.
To strike targets on land and ships in port, the missile, which has a 500-pound warhead, uses GPS-aided inertial navigation to hit user-defined targets such as coastal defence sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port/industrial facilities and ships in port.
The Australians will install the Block II retrofit kits at their Orchard Hills facility in Australia. The ADF has used Harpoon Block I missiles since 1982, and they are currently employed on surface ships, submarines and aircraft.