A new network-enabled AGM-84N Harpoon Block II+ missile system has successfully completed a free-flight test at the US Navy’s Sea Range at Point Mugu, California.
During the first end-to-end functionality test, an inert autonomously guided Harpoon Block II+ missile successfully hit a moving ship target.
The missile was integrated onto an F/A-18 fighter jet and received target location updates through its network-enabled datalink.
Harpoon / Standoff Land Attack Missile – Extended Range deputy programme manager commander Matt Farr said: "This successful free-flight test is a tremendous achievement for the joint Boeing and navy team, and reflects their hard work and dedication over the past several years.
"We are on schedule to deliver this important capability to the fleet in 2017, giving the US Navy a significant advantage in anti-surface warfare."
The upgrades provided to the missile will enable it to receive in-flight updates that improve the targeting and engagement of moving maritime targets.
This test follows after the missile was put through 152 lab-test sessions, 15 aircraft ground tests and 16 flight tests.
Precision Strike Weapons programme manager captain Jaime Engdahl said: "The Harpoon missile is the premier surface warfare weapon in service today and we are working to ensure that it remains viable and lethal into the future.
"Block II+ is a critical capability for us and we are taking every opportunity to pace the growing maritime threat by continuously improving Harpoon’s range, survivability, and lethality."
Featuring a new GPS guidance kit for enhanced weapon’s navigation, the all-weather, over-the-horizon weapon can conduct both land-strike and anti-ship missions against a range of targets.
So far, a total of 7,500 missiles have been delivered to the US Navy and its 29 foreign partners.
The missile is set to undergo another developmental test in 2016.
Image: An F/A-18 carries the new Harpoon Block II+ missile during a free flight test. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo.