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US Military Tests HIMARS Long-Range Rocket Launcher in Japan

The US military recently conducted a series of live-fire tests of its advanced High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) long-range mobile rocket launcher.

The tests reportedly took place during a recent large-scale joint exercise in Japan as part of preparations for a “potential conflict” in the Taiwan Strait.

The service fired the HIMARS on the island of Hokkaido, Stars and Stripes reported.

HIMARS Rocket Launcher

Developed by American defense firm Lockheed Martin, the launch system of the M142 HIMARS is capable of six rockets or one tactical missile system at hostile artillery, air defenses, light armored vehicles, and even enemy troops. It has a precision strike firing range of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles).

The HIMARS can launch rockets at a speed of 53 miles (85 kilometers) per hour and is transportable via C-130 transport plane. The system can be deployed to areas previously inaccessible to heavier launchers.

The mobile rocket launcher can fire projectiles then evacuate the launch area at high speed before enemy forces locate the site.

Taiwan Strait Conflict

China continues to claim that Taiwan is a renegade province that should be brought under its control — by force, if necessary — though the countries have been governed separately since their split amid civil war in 1949.

Last year, 380 PLA warplanes entered Taiwan’s southwestern air defense zone – a move that analysts said was more of a “signal to the world than a threat to the island’s resolve.”

Japan and the US have increased their cooperation and training recently as China continues to engage in pressure tactics with the threat of military force aimed at reunifying Taiwan.

The recent week-long joint exercises included the participation of roughly 3,000 troops of Japan’s Self-Defence Force and the US Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marine Corps.

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