Royal Australian Navy Frigate HMAS Arunta Test-Fires First Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac-class frigate, HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) has test-fired its first Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) off the coast of Western Australia following a 20-month AMCAP upgrade.

Australian Frigate HMAS Arunta Test Fires ESSM Missile After AMCAP Upgrade 925 001 HMAS Arunta AMCAP ESSM firing (Picture source: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

The RIM-162 ESSM is a surface-to-air weapon that uses radar homing guidance to counter anti-ship missiles moving at supersonic speeds and forms part of Arunta’s air defence capability. It is a development of the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missile.

Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the missile firing is an important part of testing the ship’s upgraded capabilities. Arunta is the first of her class to undergo the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade at Henderson, Western Australia.

Australian Frigate HMAS Arunta Test Fires ESSM Missile After AMCAP Upgrade 925 002HMAS Arunta fires its 5-inch gun as part of a surface firing trial off the coast of Western Australia (Picture source: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

HMAS Arunta is a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction and is homeported at HMAS Stirling, Western Australia.

HMAS Arunta (FFH 151) is an Anzac-class frigate of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The ship, named for the Arrernte people, was laid down in 1995 and commissioned in 1998. Since entering service, Arunta has performed a wide range of duties, including border protection patrols in northern Australian waters, and several deployments to the Persian Gulf.

Each frigate has a 3,600-tonne full load displacement. The ships are 109 metres (358 ft) long at the waterline, and 118 metres (387 ft) long overall, with a beam of 14.8 metres (49 ft), and a full load draught of 4.35 metres (14.3 ft).

As designed, the main armament for the frigate is a 5-inch 54 calibre Mark 45 gun, supplemented by an eight-cell Mark 41 vertical launch system (for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow or RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles), two 12.7-millimetre (0.50 in) machine guns, and two Mark 32 triple torpedo tube sets (initially firing Mark 46 torpedoes, but later upgraded to use the MU90 Impact torpedo).

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