Babcock press release
Babcock provides specialist air, defence and missiles engineering expertise supporting the availability of the Harpoon Missile System fitted to Type 23 Frigates and Type 45 Destroyers. Its role in the programme covers operational defect support, post design services and the procurement of spares, enabling maintenance of the system and its operational availability to the fleet.
“We are pleased to continue supporting the Harpoon programme, ensuring asset availability for our customer. This is a vital piece of anti-ship equipment on board both the Type 23 and Type 45 that enables them to operate safely wherever they are deployed.”
Martin Laity, Director Mission Systems, Babcock
Naval News comments:
The Royal Navy’s surface fleet (Type 23 frigates and some of the Type 45 destroyers) currently deploys with Harpoon Block 1C procured back in the 1980s. The ageing system was set to reach its end of shelf life in 2018, but this has been pushed back to 2023. The Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW), an ongoing joint UK / France program, won’t be ready until 2030ies at best and the Royal Navy needs an interim, off the shelf anti-ship missile solution for its current and future surface fleet (with the first Type 26 frigate set to be delivered around 2025).
Back in 2019, the UK Ministry of Defence Torpedoes, Tomahawk and Harpoon (TTH) Project Team detailed its requirement to implement an interim surface to surface guided weapon to replace the existing Harpoon missile:
The TTH project team, part of the UK Ministry of Defence, hereafter referred to as the authority, has a requirement for the provision and introduction into service of the I-SSGW system as an interim replacement for the existing system that is going out of service. The I-SSGW is to provide a ship launched over the horizon precision anti-ship capability and a terrain following precision maritime land attack capability.
It is anticipated that the I-SSGW capability will operate on X 5 Type 23 (Towed Array) frigates capable of concurrent Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW) operations in protection of a formed Maritime Tasking Group, for a 10-year period.
UK Ministry of Defence, Weapons, Torpedoes, Tomahawk and Harpoon (TTH) Project Team’s contract notice issued August 19, 2019.
The I-SSGW contract is set to be awarded sometime by this summer, following a statement by Jeremy Quin, Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence made in December 2020:
“The Royal Navy has set the requirements for a Surface-to-Surface Guided Weapon (SSGW) to ensure they maintain the ability to deter and defeat enemy warships. A competition is now taking place and on current plans, subject to funding, we expect bids to provide a solution to SSGW, by mid-2021.”
According to our information, the likely bidders are:
- Lockheed Martin (LRASM)
- MBDA (Exocet MM40 Block IIIc)
- Raytheon/Kongsberg (NSM)
- Saab (RBS-15 Mk3)
- IAI (Gabriel V)
Initial deliveries of the interim anti-ship missile is set to start in 2023/2024 time frame.
According to official sources, the Harpoon system is due to go out of service (OSD) in December 2023. It is installed on 13 (thirteen) Type 23 frigates, 3 (three) Type 45 destroyers and 3 (three) land-based reference systems. The new support contract will be for 2 years from 1 January 22 until 31 March 24 with an option to extend in 1-year increments (to a maximum of three) at the authority’s discretion.