Naval Warfare

Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Toowoomba Fires First ESSM After AMCAP Upgrade

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Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Toowoomba Fires First ESSM After AMCAP Upgrade

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Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Toowoomba Fires First ESSM After AMCAP Upgrade
Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Toowoomba Fires First ESSM After AMCAP Upgrade

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac-class frigate HMAS Toowoomba (FFH 156) achieved a key milestone in explosive fashion while undergoing training off the coast of Western Australia. HMAS Toowoomba successfully fired an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) for the first time since completing the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade. Toowoomba’s weapons electrical engineering officer, it was a significant part of maintaining operational readiness. Toowoomba completed the 18-month AMCAP upgrade in April 2022, which included out-of-water maintenance and significant capability upgrades to radar, communication and platform systems.

Toowoomba is one of five Anzac-class frigates to complete the AMCAP upgrade, providing enhanced capability to the Navy’s fleet. She was laid down in 2002 by Tenix Defence and commissioned in 2005. Toowoomba began her first deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) as part of Operation Slipper on 4 January 2007. Toowoomba began her first deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) as part of Operation Slipper on 4 January 2007. In September, the frigate was assigned to Combined Task Force 151 (CTF-151), Toowoomba was the first Australian warship to work with CTF-151, a US-led, multinational force tasked with protecting merchant vessels from pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia.

Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Toowoomba Fires First ESSM After AMCAP Upgrade
An Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile launches from HMAS Toowoomba during a workup period off the coast of Western Australia. (Photo by Royal Australian Navy/Australian Government Department of Defence)

“The purpose of Toowoomba’s ESSM firing was to verify combat system performance in the detection, tracking and engagement of manoeuvrable targets at sea. The safe and successful execution of this firing involved synchronisation from many parts of ship, including the weapons electrical department, combat systems operators, warfare officers and the navigation team. Thanks to the combined efforts of ship’s company, we were able to effectively fire an ESSM and intercept the intended target,” Lieutenant Commander Kieran Davis said.

As part of the ANZAC Mid-life Capability Assurance Programme (AMCAP) upgrade under SEA 1448, Phase 4B, the SPS-49(V)8 was replaced with CEAFAR2-L L band phase array radar, along with replacements of the Cossar Mk XII IFF, Exelis ES-3701 ESM and upgrades to the LESCUT, AN/SLR-25C torpedo self-defence system, and the Nulka active missile decoy capability. Australia is planning to replace the Harpoon Anti-ship missiles with the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) by 2024. The Naval strike missile can be used against both land and sea targets and provides a significant increase in range. 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.

HMAS Toowoomba sits on the hardstand while undergoing the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) Upgrade at the BAE Systems Australia facility in Henderson, Western Australia.
HMAS Toowoomba sits on the hardstand while undergoing the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) Upgrade at the BAE Systems Australia facility in Henderson, Western Australia.(Photo by Royal Australian Navy/Australian Government Department of Defence)

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