Developed by McDonnell-Douglas Aeronauticals, Huntinton Beach California, the AGM/RGM-84 Harpoon is an Anti Ship Missile (AshM) with a range of up to 60 miles and containing a 490-lb blast type warhead which can be launched by aircraft, surface vessels or submarine. Harpoon became operational in 1977-78 after an extended development programme. It is powered by a Teledyne CAE J402 single shaft turbojet with initial launch being provided by a Aerojet MX (TBD) B446-2 solid boost rocket. This gives the Harpoon a normal flight speed of 678 mph (Mach 0.85). Guidance is provided by target data set pre-launch supplemented by IBM computer mid-course. The system is also provided with Lear Siegler strapdown platform, radar altimeter and terminal T1 active radar seeker.
The simpler ARG-84 was designed to be air- launched by a wide variety of combat aircraft such as the A-6E Intruder, A-7E Corsair II, P-3 Orion and S-3 Viking. It has also been cleared for carriage by the B1 and B52 strategic bombers.
The surface ship launched RGM-84 can be fired from a Tartar/ Terrier/ Standard or ASROC launcher, or from a lightweight canister from high-speed craft, or a bouyant capsule fired from a submarine torpedo tube.
Successive variants have significantly enhanced the capability of this missile, including a Reattack capability in the latest versions. The Harpoon has also provided the basis for the land-attack AGM-84E, SLAM, and AGM-84H SLAM-ER.
In operation, the Harpoon, after launch, will turn towards its preset target, zoom down to sea-skimming height, lock on to the target with its internal terminal radar before climbing in the last seconds to dive on to the target.
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