Harpoon Missiles

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Taiwan recently decided to buy 400 U.S. land-launched Harpoon missiles in the face of rising threat from China.

About Harpoon Missiles:

  • It is a U.S.-designed subsonic antiship cruise missile that has been in service since 1977. 
  • Numerous variants have been produced since its inception, including air-, ship-, and sub-launched versions. 
  • It is currently in service with the armed forces of more than 30 countries including India.
  • Features:
    • It is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system. 
    • Propulsion: Turbojet, solid prpellent.
    • It has a low-level, sea-skimming cruise trajectory with active radar guidance.
    • It is capable of executing both land-strike and anti-ship missions.
    • This missile is fitted with a heavy 221-kilogram penetration blast warhead. 
    • It uses GPS-aided inertial navigation to hit a designated target aimpoint.
    • Range: 90-240 km


Q1) What is a cruise missile?

Cruise missiles differ from ballistic missiles in that they fly towards their target at lower altitudes, remaining within the Earth’s atmosphere throughout their trajectory. Cruise missiles are defined as “an unmanned self-propelled guided vehicle that sustains flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path and whose primary mission is to place an ordnance or special payload on a target.”

Source: Taiwan To Buy 400 US Anti-Ship Missiles Amid China Tensions: Report