The US Navy has completed an operational flight test using its new Harpoon Block II+ missile at Point Mugu Sea Test Range, before adding the weapon to the fleet.

The missile demonstrated its capability to be integrated with the newest software upgrade of the F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft during the trial.

Known as System Configuration Set H12E, the upgrade and its installation required several years of planning, designing, engineering and testing, which was conducted by a team comprising different entities across the US Navy enterprise.

"Using a proven product and expanding its capability ensures the navy has a viable weapon that is lethal, flexible and accessible at a low cost."

Harpoon deputy programme manager commander Jon Schiffelbein said: “We are extremely proud to deliver precision targeting to the warfighter with a flexibility to stay ahead of threats.”

The Harpoon Block II+ missile offers a rapid-capability enhancement for the US Navy, comprising a new global positioning system (GPS) guidance kit, improved reliability and survivability of the weapon and a new data link interface that allows for the delivery of in-flight updates.

The capability upgrade also involves enhanced target selectivity, an ‘abort’ option and improved resistance to electronic countermeasures.

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US Navy Precision Strike Weapons programme manager captain John Dougherty said: “The Harpoon Block II+ expands on a legacy of over 40 years of service.

“Using a proven product and expanding its capability ensures the navy has a viable weapon that is lethal, flexible and accessible at a low cost to address the growing maritime threat.”

In addition, the missile is capable of being launched from multiple air and surface platforms.

The US Navy intends to deploy the Harpoon Block II+ missile later this fiscal year.