Anti-ship missile model can help Ukraine deter Russia

The large range and ability to fly close to the sea surface of the Harpoon missile can threaten Russian warships and help Ukraine break the blockade on the Black Sea.

Defense Minister America Lloyd Austin on May 23 said that Denmark will deliver a Harpoon anti-ship missile system to Ukraine. Experts say this missile model can threaten Russian warships operating off the coast of Ukraine and partially limit the ongoing sea blockade.

The US official did not say whether the Harpoon version would be delivered by Denmark to Ukraine. Denmark is operating the RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II variant capable of striking ships at sea, as well as targets in ports and on land. The country used to service the RGM-84A Block I with less performance in the 1990s, before putting them into storage in 2003.

Missile RGM-84 Harpoon launched from a US warship during a 2014 exercise. Photo: US Navy.

Missile RGM-84 Harpoon launched from a US warship during a 2014 exercise. Photo: US Navy.

“This is an important step to increase the capacity and combat intensity of Ukrainian forces. Harpoon missiles can threaten Russian warships in the Black Sea,” said Tom Karako, an expert at the Center for Strategic Studies. and American International, Review.

Harpoon is an anti-ship cruise missile developed by the American company McDonnell Douglas, now part of Boeing, and put into service in 1977.

This is one of the most popular anti-ship missiles in the world, present in the army of more than 30 countries with about 7,500 bullets shipped. It was used in the wars in Iran and Libya in the 1980s.

The basic Harpoon missile is 3.8-4.6 m long, 34 cm in diameter, weighs nearly 700 kg, carries a high explosive warhead weighing 221 kg, has a range of 130-300 km depending on variations and a maximum speed of 865 km /H. Harpoon can be launched from aircraft, ground launchers, surface ships and submarines.

Harpoon’s strength is the ability to fly close to the sea surface, making it very difficult for enemy ships to detect and deal with. The original Harpoon version only specialized in attacking ships, while later variants added the ability to attack land targets.

In anti-ship missions, radar from aircraft and warships will detect targets and load parameters for missiles. The inertial guidance system will guide the projectile to a predetermined area, then the active radar detector will activate to track and control the missile to the target.

Denmark's Harpoon anti-ship missile launcher in 2002. Photo: FAK.

Denmark’s Harpoon anti-ship missile launcher in 2002. Photo: FAK.

The Block II variant adds a satellite navigation system to attack ground targets and ships in the port, while the active radar can track objects thanks to the contrast with the surrounding environment.

Land-launched anti-ship missiles are considered a significant threat to Russian warships in the Black Sea. Ukraine’s military claims that two of its Neptune anti-ship missiles hit the cruiser Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, causing it to sink off the city of Odessa in mid-April.

The Russian military did not comment on the news that the Moskva ship was hit by a missile, but after the incident, the Russian navy significantly reduced its activities off Odessa and the Russian warship also kept a longer distance than before.

Forces of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet often operate near the coast in Crimea to coordinate with ground-based air defense forces, as well as take advantage of terrain and features to make radar detectors on anti-ship missiles target enemy ships. hard way to catch the target. This is considered a measure to deal with anti-ship missiles that are in the hands of Ukraine or are about to receive such as Harpoon.

Front of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine.  Click to see details.

Front of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine. Click to see details.

Experts believe that the Harpoon missile will significantly increase Ukraine’s defense capabilities in the Black Sea, in the context that the country lacks domestic anti-ship missiles after a series of Russian air strikes.

“If Ukraine establishes an anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) zone with land-launched anti-ship missiles, Russia’s efforts to blockade the Black Sea may have to end and the transport corridor from the port of Odessa will be opened,” said military expert Tayfun Ozberk.

Duy Son (Theo Naval News)

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