Ukraine desperately needs anti-ship weapons. Frigates of the Russian Navy fire at our cities with impunity with cruise missiles from the Black Sea, and the Ukrainian Navy, unfortunately, has nothing to get them. Recently our military allegedly struck the Russian frigate Admiral Essen with the help of the domestic cruise missile R-360 Neptune, but we have very few Neptunes, so we have to spare them.

Therefore, calls to provide Ukraine with anti-ship missiles have sounded for several weeks. President Zelensky spoke about it before the Norwegian parliament, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson brought it up recently , and it’s what a group of congressmen asks US President Joe Biden about.

AGM/RGM/UGM-84 Harpoon: an American anti-ship missile Ukraine needs

Most often, when it comes to anti-ship missiles that Ukraine can get, we mean the American AGM / RGM / UGM-84 Harpoon, a weapon well known, widespread, reliable. Let’s see what the Harpoon is.

In fact, the Harpoon, which was created in the late 1960s and early 1970s, is almost a complete analogue of the Neptune, which in turn is based on the Soviet X-35 anti-ship missile. Only Harpoon was the first, X-35 was adopted 6 years later and was the Soviet Union’s response to Harpoon.

AGM/RGM/UGM-84 Harpoon: an American anti-ship missile Ukraine needs

Harpoon is a universal anti-ship missile that can be used by surface ships (RGM-84), submarines (UGM-84) and aircraft (AGM-84). There is even a version for use with onshore launchers. The AGM-84E SLAM and AGM-84H / K SLAM-ER are winged versions that can approach the target at ultra-low altitudes, almost above the wave crests.

Harpoon is designed to target destroyers, frigates and corvettes, but can cause significant damage to cruisers and even larger ships. The warhead weighing 221 kg is detonated with a delay, after penetrating into the middle of the target.

Since 1977, manufacturers McDonnell Douglas, Boeing Defense and Space & Security have already released more than 7,500 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. These missiles have been delivered to 28 countries and are used on more than 600 warships, 180 submarines and a lot of aircraft.

AGM/RGM/UGM-84 Harpoon: an American anti-ship missile Ukraine needs

It seems Harpoon is a good thing to take. But there are some nuances. First, the maximum combat range of Harpoons is only 280 km. Secondly, only the onshore version of the missile is suitable for Ukraine, we simply have nowhere to put sea or air versions. That is, when stationed in the coastal areas of Odesa and Mykolayiv regions, the Harpoons Division is able to prevent landings or shelling of port cities from artillery armament of Russian ships, but cannot reach Black Sea Fleet destroyers firing at Ukrainian cities with Kalibr cruise missiles or hit the bay of Sevastopol.

This is a good weapon and we need it, moreover, since 2021 Ukraine has been negotiating the purchase of Harpoon for Ada-class corvettes, which are being built for the Ukrainian Navy in Turkey (the first was laid down in September 2021). But we should not rely on the Harpoon. Even if Ukraine receives it, these weapons are unlikely to stop bombing our cities.

AGM/RGM/UGM-84 Harpoon: an American anti-ship missile Ukraine needs

Mass – 540 – 691 kg
Length – 3.8 – 4.6 m
Diameter – 34.3 cm
Engine – turbojet engine and solid fuel accelerator
Wingspan – 91.4 cm
Operational range – 140 – 280 km
Flight altitude – sea-skimming
Speed – 850 km / h (Mach 0.85)
Guidance system – inertial guidance system with altimeter and active radar terminal homing
Warhead – 221 kilograms, high explosive
The unit costs $ 1,527,416