The US Navy’s second Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS 4) USS Coronado has successfully completed a live firing of a Harpoon Block IC missile off the coast of Guam.
USS Coronado’s Harpoon missile system succeeded in hitting a surface target that was located at a significant distance beyond the vessel’s visual range, thereby demonstrating the potential of the LCS during overseas deployment.
Targeting support for the missile was provided by an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial system (UAS) and an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, which are both part of LCS 4’s rotary-wing air detachment.
US Navy Destroyer Squadron 7 commodore captain Lex Walker said: “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.
USS Coronado successfully conducted the first live-fire over-the-horizon harpoon missile test during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in July 2016.
“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.”
Austal has agreed to build ten LCSs for the US Navy as part of a contract valued at more than $3.5bn.
The 127m-long all-aluminium, trimaran-hull LCS is capable of cruising at a top speed of 40k, and employs modular mission packages that can be configured for surface warfare, mine countermeasures or anti-submarine warfare.
Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon weapon system that has been designed to carry out anti-ship missions against a wide range of surface targets.
The Harpoon system can be launched from surface ships, submarines and aircraft, and is currently is deployed on several US Navy vessels, including 22 cruisers, 21 Flight I destroyers, seven Flight II destroyers and a number of LCSs.