U.S. Navy Photo
GUAM-- People on Guam were hearing a lot about North Korean missiles in the past couple of weeks, but the only missile to be seen near Guam this week was American. And the test firing of the Harpoon Block 1C frm the Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) was a success, striking a surface target at a significant distance beyond the ship's visual range, according to the U.S. Navy.
Littoral combat ships are small surface vessels intended for operations in the littoral zone (close to shore), which in this case happened to be Guam "LCS will play an important role in protecting shipping and vital U.S. interests in the maritime crossroads," said Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander, Task Force 73. "Its ability to pair unmanned vehicles like Fire Scout with Harpoon missiles to strike from the littoral shadows matters - there are over 50,000 islands in the arc from the Philippines to India; those shallow crossroads are vital world interests. Harpoon and Fire Scout showcase one of the growing tool combinations in our modular LCS capability set and this complex shot demonstrates why LCS has Combat as its middle name." An MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial system and MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, both part of Coronado's rotary-wing air detachment, provided targeting support for the harpoon missile. "Our crew and air detachment really came together as a team to accomplish this live-fire event," said Commander Douglas Meagher, commanding officer of the Coronado. "Our sailors worked hard to prepare for this exercise and I'm extremely proud of the way they performed." The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon weapon designed to execute anti-ship missions against a range of surface targets. It can be launched from surface ships, submarines and aircraft and is currently used on 50 U.S. Navy ships: 22 cruisers, 21 Flight I destroyers, seven Flight II destroyers, and select littoral combat ships. The Coronado's successful strike on a target using the harpoon missile system follows a test fire of the harpoon that was conducted in July, 2016. "USS Coronado's success in a real-world deployment of the harpoon missile system is a result of how we are changing the way we operate and think about LCS," said Captain Lex Walker, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7. "By focusing on how a deployed LCS fits in the larger maritime domain with regional partners, we are ensuring a secure and cooperative regional environment while increasing the ship's capabilities." Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 staff conduct advanced planning, organize resources and directly support the execution of maritime exercises such as the bilateral CARAT series, NEA with Vietnam and the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.