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Zander:
PACOM chief eyes coastal defence artillery for South China Sea

Daniel Wasserbly, Washington, DC - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
16 November 2016

Key Points
Adm Harris wants coastal defence systems in the South China Sea, East China Sea, and elsewhere
US Army officials have embraced the idea of cross-domain fires and are exploring potential options
The US military needs coastal defence weapons that can threaten adversaries' ships in the Pacific, according to Admiral Harry Harris, head of US Pacific Command (PACOM).

"I believe that the army can do a lot in cross-domain fires," Adm Harris said during 15 November remarks. "I think the army should be in the business of sinking ships with land-based surface-to-ship missile systems," he said, noting that the US Marine Corps could have a similar role.

He said PACOM would want that sort of capability in the Western Pacific so it could, if needed, threaten adversaries in the South China Sea, East China Sea, and elsewhere.

General David Perkins, head of US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), told reporters in October that army fires systems such as M142 High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) wheeled launcher could be used to engage maritime targets as "it's not that much technically different for the missile system", although the training and doctrine would be a major change. For example, the army does not have the sort of organisations to co-ordinate fires as the navy does, nor does it have situational awareness on the water.

Adm Harris said in May that the army should explore ways to use the M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzer (SPH) and HIMARS wheeled launcher "to keep the enemies' navies at risk" and move the army into the coastal defence role, and the service has shown interest in doing just that.

Specifically, Adm Harris suggested adapting the army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Battle Command System (IBCS) - used to track and engage incoming aerial threats - so it could communicate with US Navy targeting systems.

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