US defense and aerospace company Boeing is to start building the the air-to-surface Harpoon missiles ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for their Jaguar maritime patrol aircraft.
Tim Alexander, Program Manager, International Weapons Programs for Boeing Defense, Space and Security told StratPost in mid-February, “We will start that work from within Boeing – the design aspects and our engineering staff will work it. We may not have a finalized contract by then but we will have a funding source,” adding, “They (US government) can give us money to start the work. Regardless of the final concluded contract. So we’re going to start work very soon – maybe by the end of this month or early next month.”
Alexander also explained that even while this ad-hoc funding was underway, the contract for the Harpoon missiles for the Indian Jaguars would be signed (with the US Government) imminently. “We typically sign a contract sometime in February, sometime about right now, for all of the orders that are accumulated and in fact we are getting very close to signing the weapons contract sometime in the next month or so.”
India will also be ordering Harpoon missiles for the navy’s P-8I long range maritime patrol aircraft, for which the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) had issued a notification to the US Congress last December.
Alexander says that while the missiles are the same, the weapons for the P-8I aircraft might not be buit at the same time because ‘they are in a different time-phasing of programs’.
And while the US Navy hasn’t purchased any Harpoons since the ‘early nineties’, he says the Indian order for both aircraft types will be fulfilled with Harpoon Block II missiles, standardized in 2001.