Royal Navy warships are unlikely to get anti-ship missiles replacement anytime sooner due to cost cutting, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.
Harpoon missiles are unlikely to be replaced for up to a decade, after it retires from the fleet’s frigates and destroyers in 2018, leaving warships armed only with their 4.5in Mk 8 guns for anti-ship warfare, naval sources told The Telegraph.
One Naval source was quoted as saying: “We will be losing our missile capability in total for two years. We will still have the gun, but the range of that is about 17 miles, compared to Harpoon, which is about 80 miles”.
Whereas, helicopter-launched Sea Skua missiles are also going out of service next year and the replacement Sea Venom missile to be carried by Wildcat helicopters will not arrive until late 2020.
A spokesman for the Navy said: “All Royal Navy ships carry a range of offensive and defensive weapons systems. Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, upgrade options to all our weapons are kept under constant review”.