Following a 20-month upgrade, Royal Australian Navy warship HMAS Arunta has fired its first Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) off the coast of Western Australia. 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. The Anzac Class Frigate 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.
This successful missile firing demonstrates the success of the AMCAP upgrade, which enhances the frigate’s self-protection, communications, and command and control capability. It’s also testament to the WAMA Alliance, a partnership between the Australian Government, BAE Systems, SAAB Australia and Naval Ship Management Australia. 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 a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. She is one of seven Anzac Class Frigates progressively undergoing AMCAP upgrades, with HMAS Warramunga’s upgrade currently underway. These upgrades will ensure the frigates remain one of the most advanced in the world, until the Hunter Class frigates enter service.
The RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) is a development of the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missile used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft. ESSM is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles. ESSM also has the ability to be “quad-packed” in the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System, allowing up to four ESSMs to be carried in a single cell. The original Sea Sparrow was an expedient design intended to provide short-range defensive fire in a system that could be deployed as rapidly as possible.