12:57 GMT04 April 2020
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    The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Coronado has destroyed a surface target in a test of the Harpoon missile system near the Pacific territory of Guam, the US Navy announced amid a new wave of tensions between the US and North Korea.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The weapon can be launched from surface ships, submarines and aircraft and is currently used on 50 US Navy shipsyfgbib.

    "Its [Coronado’s] ability to pair unmanned vehicles like Fire Scout with Harpoon missiles to strike from the littoral shadows matters," Task Force 73 Commander Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson stated in the release.

    Gabrielson explained that 50,000 islands in an arc from the Philippines to India contain shallow water crossroads that are vital to global security.

    An MQ-8B Fire Scout drone and an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, both part of Coronado's rotary-wing air detachment, provided targeting support for the harpoon missile, the release explained.

    Navy vessels are moored in port at the U.S. Naval Base Guam at Apra Harbor, Guam March 5, 2016
    © REUTERS / Major Jeff Landis,USMC (Ret.)/Naval Base Guam/Handout/File Photo
    The release described the Harpoon as an all-weather, over-the-horizon weapon designed to execute anti-ship missions against a range of surface targets.

    Earlier in the day, the charge d’affaires of the North Korean embassy in Russia told Sputnik that Pyongyang has finished preparationg for a strike on the US territory of Guam and is ready to carry it out in case of a "provocation."

    The statement came amid the joint US-South Korean Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) drills that kicked off on Monday. The military exercises, in which about 17,500 US servicemen and about 50,000 South Korean troops are participating, have been criticized by Pyongyang.

    Tensions around Pyongyang's missile program have flared up in recent weeks, following the adoption of the UN Security Council sanctions, which led to North Korea trading threats and warnings with the United States. Most notably, Pyongyang said it might consider an attack on the area near the US territory of Guam in the Western Pacific.

    Commenting on the sanctions, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to take decisive steps against the United States, including "physical actions." In response, US President Donald Trump threatened to unleash "fire and fury" against North Korea if it endangered the United States.


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    USS Coronado, Harpoon missile, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), United States, Guam
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