BERLIN, ($1=0.92 Euros) — With the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on March 9, 2022, to Kyiv, it became known that anti-ship missiles will also be part of the arms deliveries to the United Kingdom in the future. Since then, the Harpoon missile system has been traded as an option in the media.
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A press release from 10 Downing street, published on 9 April, spoke more neutrally about a “new” anti-ship “missile system”. But is it Harpoon? This missile is not new. That is why the colleagues from MarineForum make the following assumptions that it is most likely another rocket. What does MarineForum say?
The first prerequisite for testing the option is that it must be a British weapons system to circumvent possible reserves on the part of the producer country. With Harpoon, this aspect is likely to recede into the background due to the special relationship between London and Washington and the proliferation of A / RGM 84 Harpoon.
In addition, the system to be delivered should not be linked to Western carrier systems. As is often the case with airplanes and helicopters. Western planes or helicopters using guided missile systems are not in the arsenal of the Ukrainian armed forces. For example, the Sea Skua missile was missed. This missile is “compatible” only with Sea King and Sea Lynx helicopters.
Like other missile systems in the Royal Navy, the Harpoon missile, cited in numerous reports, is being deployed by water units, including Type 23 frigates and Type 45 destroyers, postponed to 2023.
Depending on the variant, Harpoon missiles are capable of hitting naval targets at a distance of between 50 and 150 nautical miles. The missile receives the data for the purpose from the onboard system of the respective platform. In the approach phase, it moves with the help of inertial navigation. At a certain distance from the target, the missile’s own radar tracks the target and brings to the target the charge of the explosion, which weighs more than 200 kilograms. Harpoon comes with its GWS 60 command and control system, which must be mounted on naval units.
It should be noted that there is currently no coast-to-ship missile system using Harpoon. Denmark, which had this option with the Harpoon missile with MOBA Ops, abandoned it between 2000 and 2005. Taiwan is in the process of introducing a Harpoon-based coastal defense system. The delivery of the Harpoon Coastal Defense Launch System [HCDS] was agreed upon in October 2020 as part of a foreign military sale between Taipei and Washington. The order was placed at Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, on March 2, 2022.
In the case of Ukraine, the use of a ground-based or easily integrated missile system seems more plausible. In addition, his low presence in the British Armed Forces seems to speak against Harpoon. Due to the forthcoming decommissioning, the stocks may have run out.
Brimstone Sea Spear [maritime surface-launched wepoan system] is being discussed as a possible option on social media. This is a variant of the anti-tank guided missile built by the MBDA for the Royal Air Force. According to the manufacturer, the Brimstone Sea Spear is modular and can be integrated into different types/classes of ships. According to the MBDA, the missile has proven itself in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Tests of the company say that Sea Spear has successfully fought with many goals. One of the targets, according to the manufacturer, was a 15-meter boat that could develop 20 knots.
This missile has the following technical data: length: 1.8 meters, diameter 180 millimeters, weight: 50 kilograms, range 10-12 kilometers.
In addition to the Brimstone Sea Spear, the MBDA offers other missile systems that could be considered for Ukraine. Exocet Mobile Coastal, EMC, is a coastal defense system based on the Exocet missile. The Marte Mobile Coastal Defense System [MCDS] uses Marte Mk2 missiles [also known as Sea Killer]. Both systems include their own sensors for autonomous operation and/or connection to a more comprehensive C3I system and consist of a mobile sensor unit, a mobile control unit, and mobile launch units, each with four missiles.
Initially, the size of the explosive charge is irrelevant. Exocet’s explosive charge of more than forty kilograms resulted in the complete loss of HMS Sheffield in the Falklands War and resulted in significant hits on two other ships, including the RoRo ship Atlantic Conveyor. Of course, the damage caused by the explosive charge of the Sea Spear, which weighs just over ten kilograms, against DropShips can be limited.
On the other hand, the total loss of the Russian “Saratov” in Berdyansk shows what consequences the hits from the upper charge, which is common in the Russian airborne units, can have. Sea Spear has an option for laser-optical targeting, which can make such an impact effect possible.
It is also unclear whether the current agreement on “anti-ship” missiles is part of the intergovernmental framework agreement concluded in November 2021. According to reports in the British press, it was to supply two mine action ships [MCMV], jointly produce eight missile carriers on the ship, supply and upgrade weapons systems for existing ships, to co-produce the frigate, and provide advice and technical assistance in the construction of naval infrastructure, including the supply of equipment. The value was estimated at £ 1.7 billion [approximately € 2.03 billion/$2.201 billion].
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