- The US Navy has demonstrated the Littoral Combat Ship’s anti-surface capabilities near Guam
- Missile firing comes in the wake of threats by North Korea to launch missiles at the Western Pacific island, and demonstrates the LCS’ lethal capabilities even while on overseas deployments
Against the backdrop of recent threats by North Korea launch ballistic missiles at Guam, the US Navy (USN) conducted a live-firing of the Boeing RGM-84D Harpoon Block 1C missile from a warship off the coast of the island territory on 22 August.
The missile, which was fired from the Independence-class Littoral Mission Vessel USS Coronado (LCS 4) struck “a surface target at significant distance beyond the ship's visual range”, said the USN in a statement, without giving specific details of the target’s location. “ Coronado 's successful firing of the harpoon over-the-horizon missile system demonstrates the lethality of LCS while deployed overseas,” the service added.
The USN also disclosed that an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial system, and one MH-60S Seahawk helicopter were deployed in the firing to provide targeting support. Both aircraft are part of Coronado 's rotary-wing air detachment.
Coronado is currently on a rotational deployment in the Asia-Pacific region. The vessel is the first LCS platform to deploy with an over-the-horizon anti-ship capability, given its four-cell launcher system that can deploy the Harpoon missiles. The weapon system, which was installed onboard the LCS in 2016, enables the ship to engage surface targets from a stand-off range of about 50 n miles, according to information from Jane’s Weapons: Naval.
The RGM-84D BLOCK IC can be equipped with warheads of up to 221.6 kg (488 lb). The all-weather, over-the-horizon (OTH) weapon can be deployed against a range of surface objectives, and can approach its targets via either sea-skimming or low-apogee trajectories.
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