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DSEI 2021: Raytheon pitches Naval Strike Missile as RN Harpoon replacement

15th September 2021 - 13:15 GMT | by Harry Lye in London

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Will the Naval Strike Missile replace Harpoon in UK RN service? (Photo: Raytheon)

Raytheon is betting that quick integration and an existing production could help it net success if the UK decides to procure a Harpoon replacement.

Raytheon is proposing the Naval Strike Missile (NSM) to replace the UK's rapidly ageing Harpoon anti-ship missile system; however, the programme has stalled in the past year with the RN undecided on whether to proceed with an interim solution or focus funding on other projects such as the MBDA Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW).

Raytheon business development executive Geraint Evans told Shephard that an RN decision on whether to procure a replacement for the Harpoon could come by the end of this month.

Six companies initially responded to the MoD's first request for information on a Harpoon replacement in 2019 and later selected five companies – including Raytheon – from those responses.

Money for procurement has been set aside; however, questions of how best to allocate funding has stalled the effort.

Evans said that any Raytheon bid for a formal contract would factor in the UK social value model, adding that 10% of the missile is already built in the country.

Raytheon would also look to build and integrate launch systems required to fit the Naval Strike Missile to Duke-class Type 23 frigates.

The missile would also offer commonality with the USN and USMC that have both selected the missile.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense naval air missiles requirements and capabilities associate director Gilbert Nelson told Shephard that quick integration benefits NSM, citing the 15 months between USN contract award and deployment on a Littoral Combat Ship.

Currently, the UK requirement is only for a missile to equip its Type 23 frigates. However, Canada recently acquired the Naval Strike Missile for its Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) – a derivative of the UK's City-class Type 26 frigate. This could make future integration onto the Type 26 if required easier.

The current RN requirement is for five NSM shipsets to equip seven towed-array Type 23s.

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