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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 August 2 - 8  > US Forces to use mobile cluster bomb launchers 1st time ever in joint drills with SDF
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2017 August 2 - 8 [US FORCES]

US Forces to use mobile cluster bomb launchers 1st time ever in joint drills with SDF

August 2, 2017
The U.S. forces plan to practice firing cluster bombs from self-propelled artilleries for the first time in joint military training exercises with the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, Akahata learned on August 1.

The U.S. Marine Corps will use the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in live-fire drills starting on August 16 at the Ground SDF’s Yausubetsu training field in Hokkaido. This system is designed to launch rockets or a missile carrying cluster bombs which scatter hundreds of smaller bombs in a wide area.

The use of cluster bombs is highly controversial. The U.S. military used the HIMARS in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and left numerous unexploded mini bombs in former battlefields. These explosives turned into “land mines” and caused many civilian casualties.

The HIMARS can fire either six rockets with 644 mini-bombs each into a target area up to 60 km away or a missile with 275 sub munitions into a target area 300 km away.

The GSDF’s public relations office said to Akahata that the weapon has never been used in the past joint training exercises in Japan.

In order to carry out the HIMARS training, the USMC will deploy personnel and necessary equipment from the U.S. mainland to Hokkaido because no unit in the drill participant regiment, the 12th Marine Regiment stationed in Okinawa, operates the rockets launchers.

Japan-U.S. joint military drills are becoming more aggressive in accordance with the U.S. military’s intent to use the drills to prepare them for full-fledged military operations.
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