Question Asked by Andrew Bowie
(MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)
on: 14 September 2017
Ministry of Defence -- Antiship Missiles (n° 105167)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Royal Navy's decision to withdraw the Harpoon anti-ship missile by the end of 2018 on the capabilities of the Royal Navy.
Answered by: Harriett Baldwin on 10 October 2017
The Royal Navy continuously reviews the capabilities it requires. While work is in hand to consider options for the replacement of the Harpoon missile system, the Navy has decided to extend its service life beyond 2018.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This represents a major climb-down for the UK Ministry of Defence, which had decreed that it would not replace the Harpoon anti-ship missile when it was retired as obsolete in 2018.
This would have left Royal Navy frigates and destroyers with their guns as the only weapon capable of engaging surface targets, which would have severely limited their operational effectiveness.
The reversal is due to a campaign on social media and newspapers ridiculing the decision, which finally proved too much for the government to bear, especially as a new round of budget cuts is expected to further reduce Royal Navy capabilities.)