Qatar is to equip its recently procured Boeing F-15QA Advanced Eagle combat aircraft with the Boeing AGM-84L Harpoon Block 2 anti-shipping missile, it was disclosed on 29 April.
The US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Precision Strike Weapons Program Office (PMA-201) said that it is to issue Boeing with a sole-source contract to conduct the integration work on behalf of the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF). A contract award for the procurement of a test asset is anticipated for the fourth quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2021, and work is anticipated to last for 26 months.
Qatar has ordered 36 F-15QA aircraft as part of a wider build-up of its combat aviation capabilities. Production began in August 2018, with deliveries set to run through to the end of 2022.
Measuring about 4.5 m in length and weighing close to 700 kg, the turbojet-powered Harpoon has been around since the mid-1970s. The Harpoon Block 2 specifically is designed to engage a wide variety of targets, both on land and at sea, such as coastal batteries, surface-to-air missile sites, aircraft and airfields, port or industrial facilities, as well as ships tied up in harbours.
The missile is guided by a Global Position System (GPS) and an Inertial Navigation System (INS) and is reported to have a range of 124 km. As noted by Jane's Air Launched Weapons , for littoral anti-surface warfare against targets close to land, the missile would receive shoreline data before launch; GPS guidance during the mid-course flight; and during the terminal phase of the attack the seeker would 'blank' land returns to acquire the target.
For attacks upon targets in port or on land, the missile would be launched and make its usual low-level approach, but would place greater reliance on the GPS-aided INS to avoid land or ships in a course that can incorporate up to eight waypoints.
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