The US Navy supports an upgrade program for Boeing-made (NYSE:BA) "Harpoon" missiles by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), defense establishment sources confirmed last week. IAI MBT (MABAT) - Weapon Systems and Space Technology has developed a detailed upgrade program for the Harpoon, and offered it to the US Navy.
IAI is currently waiting for the US Department of Defense to approve the program. The Ministry of Defense has asked the US Department of Defense to finance the $3 million cost for the upgraded Harpoon prototype, and is waiting for the budget to be approved.
IAI plans to replace the Harpoon's obsolescent target acquisition and guidance sensors. The total upgrade program could reach $150 million, which would be less than buying new and improved missiles.
Israel will later want to upgrade the Harpoon missiles in use by the Israel Navy, following Egypt's equipping its Navy with Harpoon Block 2 missiles, which have higher performance than Israel's missiles. Israel and the US may also market the upgraded missiles to the 25 countries using the Harpoon.
Israeli defense establishment sources said, "IAI's planned upgrade will considerably extend the [Harpoon] missile's life-span, giving it the performance of new-generation anti-ship missiles."
Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on October 13, 2002