Teledyne CAE began developing the J402-CA-400 (CAE Model 370) in 1972 to power the U.S. Navy's McDonnell Douglas AGM-84A Harpoon, an antiship missile that could be launched from surface ships, aircraft, and submarines. A rocket booster stage launched and initially powered the missile, was jettisoned after burnout, and the J402 engine then powered the Harpoon for the rest of its brief flight.
Designed as an expendable, short-life engine, the J402 was the first small turbojet missile engine designed for long-term storage without maintenance and, for this reason, has been called a "wooden round" propulsion system. The first production J402 was delivered in 1975, and has a number of variants. By the early 1990s, the Harpoon was the most widely deployed missile in the U.S. Navy and was also used by the U.S. Air Force and other naval forces.