HMAS Arunta tests fires missile following major Navy exercise

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac-class frigate HMAS Arunta has fired its first Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) off the coast of Western Australia.

The test firing of the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile comes after the ship recently completed a 20-month upgrade and follow’s the Arunta’s participation in a major RAN exercise. The ESSM is a surface-to-air weapon that uses radar homing guidance to counter fast-moving anti-ship missiles, forming part of Arunta’s air defence capability.

HMAS Arunta carried out the missile firing following her involvement in the RAN’s Fleet Certification Period 2020 (FCP20), which were conducted over three weeks off the coasts of Victoria and Tasmania concluded on the 6th of March.

According to the RAN, the exercise tested the service’s ability to conduct warfighting operations centred around its Canberra-class amphibious assault ships, and in addition also involved  HMAS Canberra, the Anzac-class frigates HMAS Stuart, replenishment oiler HMAS Sirius , mine-countermeasure vessels HMAS Huon and HMAS Diamantina , and submarines HMAS Collins and HMAS Farncomb .

They were joined by aircraft that included a P-8A Poseidon each from the Royal Australian Air and United States Navy P-8, and a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3 Orion.

The Arunta is the first of her class to undergo the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade at Henderson, Western Australia as part of Australia’s Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) Alliance.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the missile firing is an important part of testing the ship’s upgraded capabilities.

“This successful missile firing demonstrates the success of the AMCAP upgrade, which enhances the frigate’s self-protection, communications, and command and control capability,” Minister Reynolds said.

“AMCAP is part of this Government’s $1.2 billion ANZAC Class sustainment program with Australian Defence Industry, which directly employs more than 140 workers while providing ongoing opportunities for small businesses in Henderson.”

Homeported at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, Arunta is one of seven Anzac Class Frigates progressively undergoing AMCAP upgrades, with HMAS Warramunga’s upgrade currently underway.



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