HMAS Warramunga put her recently upgraded capability to the test during Exercise Malabar 2021. This was the second consecutive year that Australia had participated. Malabar 2021 was held off the coast of Guam with ships and aircraft from India, Japan and the United States. This was Warramunga’s first major deployment since her Anzac mid-life capability assurance program upgrade was completed at the Henderson dockyard in Western Australia. After leaving her home port of Fleet Base West on August 15, Warramunga conducted a range of evolutions designed to evaluate the Anzac-class ship’s capabilities since the upgrade and prepare the crew to exercise with the regional partners. This included at-sea refuelling with HMAS Sirius and maritime warfare training to better integrate the operations room and the embarked helicopter.
Flight Commander 816 Squadron Flight 1 Lieutenant Commander Matt Hudson said,“The multilateral exercises also provided a training opportunity for Warramunga’s embarked aircrew. Being embarked in HMAS Warramunga with the MH-60 Romeo helicopter and taking part in a large international exercise like Malabar was a great opportunity for 816 Squadron Flight 1. We were able to enhance our interoperability with our partners from India, Japan and the United States in this high-level maritime training exercise.”
Combat systems manager Chief Petty Officer Mark Skinner said,“The training set the crew up well to interoperate with other navies during Malabar, which was a valuable opportunity to work closely with key regional partners. Exercises such as Malabar 21 allow our crew to exchange proficiency in core mariner skills with like-minded navies and enhance our interoperability.”
HMAS Warramunga (FFH 152) is an Anzac-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). One of ten frigates built for the Australian and New Zealand navies, Warramunga was laid down by Tenix Defence in 1997 and commissioned in 2001. During her career, the frigate has operated in the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Catalyst, and undertaken anti-piracy operations off Somalia. Warramunga underwent the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade during 2014. She is active as of April 2019.
The ship’s main armament comprises one Mark 45 capable of firing 20 rounds per minute, ship launched Mark 46 torpedoes and a Mark 41 vertical launch system for the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile. Warramunga also has eight anti-ship/land attack canister launched harpoon missiles. The ship’s other defence systems include the Nulka active missile decoy system, offboard chaff and a torpedo countermeasures system. The ship can embark Navy’s latest multi-role Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk with the capability to deliver air-launched missiles and torpedoes.
HMAS Warramunga’s combat capabilities have been significantly improved under the Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade program, a world class program that provides an enhanced sensor and weapons systems capability. HMAS Warramunga is the third Anzac class frigate to complete the Anzac Mid-Life Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade at the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson, Western Australia. The upgrade was performed by the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) Alliance and included the replacement of the Long Range Air search radar, IFF (Identification, Friend or Foe) and secondary surveillance radar capabilities. Anzac also underwent a platform systems obsolescence program to improve platform reliability and maintainability. Work was also performed to improve the ship’s habitability for the crew as well as an upgrade to the ship’s communications systems to resolve a number of obsolescence issues. HMAS Warramunga returned to her home port of Fleet Base West and will conduct post-AMCAP sea trails, work-ups and testing the new equipment on-board.