How often do you get to witness United States military history? Once in a blue moon? Once in a … navy blue moon?
The latter is appropriate, because for the first time ever a littoral combat ship (LCS) launched a Harpoon surface-to-surface missile, and it was a success! Kind of …
You see, the projectile launched and that part was triumph. However, the aerial torpedo didn’t hit its intended target. So, in that respect, it was a failure.
Here’s footage of the firing:
This from Defense News:
The LCS Coronado launched a Harpoon Block IC missile from a canister installed on its forward deck late Tuesday afternoon during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises near Hawaii. The target, the decommissioned frigate Crommelin, was about 20 nautical miles away.
“The missile left the ship as planned in the engagement plan,” Cmdr. Scott Larson, commanding officer of the Coronado, said Wednesday during a phone interview while still at sea. “We saw visually a booster separation, and it looked as though the missile was on the correct bearing. We lost radar track as the missile moved down range.”
“The data is still being analyzed to determine what the missile profile looked like,” Larson added. “Indications are it was a negative impact. But it was successful in validating our ability to deploy that missile off the ship and not damage the ship.”
The Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Division, an independent analysis and assessment center, is reconstructing the firing and making a more definitive assessment of what happened during the missile shoot, Larson added.
According to the USN, the brand new ships being appropriately armed is still a work in progress, with this step still a preliminary step in the grander process of making LCSs ready for deployment (one of them is scheduled to ship out to the Western Pacific in the winter).
While all can see the missile being launched from the Coronado in the video above, it’s still not in sync with its comprehensive combat system. Upon RIMPAC’s completion the ship will return to Pearl Harbor to ready for its first defense assignment, in Singapore. When that is exactly is still unclear.
Oh an as for that ship it was supposed to destroy in the exercises? The Crommelin? Yeah, it was bombed to hell and sunk by other participating vessels on the night of July 19.