Negotiations have commenced between Boeing and the US Department of Defense to secure integration of the AGM-84 Harpoon Block 1G anti-ship missile with the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, on behalf of the type’s Australian customer.

Canberra announced in February it had approved the acquisition of eight P-8As for the Royal Australian Air Force, plus four options.

Australia has maintained a co-operative programme with the US Navy on the development of the P-8A since 2007. The Boeing 737-derived platform and an as-yet undetermined number of Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft will replace the RAAF’s 18 Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orions from 2017.

As detailed in a 24 July Pentagon notification, the DoD suggests the work required on the Harpoon Block 1G is largely related to integrating the weapon with the P-8A’s combat system software. The work includes “developing, lab and aircraft testing, evaluating and implementing the updates to the aircraft hardware and software configuration”.

Block 1G is an upgraded development of the AGM-84D Block 1C variant, which entered service in 1997.

The improvement incorporates an enhanced seeker and the capability to reattack a target if required, and is available on AGM-84 air, RGM-84 ship or UGM-84 submarine-launched variants of the munition, all of which are fielded by Australia.