UK: HMS Montrose Successfully Fires Harpoon Missile

HMS Montrose Successfully Fires Harpoon Missile

Royal Navy warship HMS Montrose has flexed her warfighting muscle with the successful firing of a Harpoon missile – capable of destroying a target up to 80 miles away. The anti-ship missile was fired at more than 800 mph into a specially-designed target barge in the Scottish exercise areas, obliterating it within minutes, and demonstrating the type of lethal power the warship wields.

The Royal Navy continually tests its personnel on exercises and training serials which are designed to build a world-class Service, and putting the weapons through their paces is part of ensuring their powerful capability.

Principal Warfare Officer Lieutenant Ben Evans said:

“The intensity and stress of conducting complex warfare training increases tenfold when you know that there is almost a quarter of a tonne of warhead on the end of the live missile you are about to fire – but so is the satisfaction increased when you successfully achieve your goal.”

HMS Montrose, which is based at Devonport Naval Base, fired the Harpoon missile during a specialist training week following her participation in Exercise Joint Warrior – a huge multinational exercise off the coast of Scotland.

Weapon Engineer Officer Lieutenant Commander Tony Marden said:

“Firing our cutting edge missiles is not an everyday event, but ensuring the availability of the equipment required to do so is, and my team of professional engineers take great pride in having proved their mettle.”

The missile is around 15ft long, about 1ft diameter and is launched from Type 23 frigates. A booster rocket helps launch the Harpoon before the turbojet then powers it along at Mach .9 – just under the speed of sound.

One of the aims of the firing was to put into practice some of HMS Montrose’s pre-deployment training, while the other was to assess the missile’s performance in challenging conditions against a challenging target.

Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose, Commander James Parkin, said:

“Of all the times I have said ‘command approved’ in my career so far, it was this one that I enjoyed the most.

“A successful firing of our Harpoon missiles has proven that my professional team of highly trained sailors are at the top of their game, and that we are ready for any tasking that we are given.”

Press Release, May 7, 2013; Image: Royal Navy