Australian destroyer HMAS Sydney fires Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile

According to information published by the Australian MoD on August 23, 2022, the Royal Australian Navy guided missile destroyer, HMAS Sydney, displayed its sophisticated naval combat capabilities while participating in Exercise Pacific Dragon 2022 in the seas off Hawaii.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Hobart class destroyer HMAS Sydney firing Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (Picture source: Australian MoD)

The exercise saw Sydney track very high-speed targets with its Aegis Combat System and state-of-the-art phased array AN/SPY 1D(V) radar before successfully launching an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile to intercept an airborne target drone.

Sydney operated in conjunction with forces from the Royal Canadian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy, US Missile Defense Agency and US Navy.

The biennial multinational integrated air and missile defence exercise took place at the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands (PMRF) off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii, from August 5-15.

Exercise Pacific Dragon 2022 was the first iteration of the exercise, which included a live-fire intercept of a short-range ballistic missile using a Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IA.

The US-led exercise aimed to improve tactical and technical coordination and interoperability concerning regional integrated air and missile defence capability.

Participating units included Sydney, HMAS Supply, HMCS Vancouver, JS Haguro, ROKS Sejong the Great, USS Fitzgerald, USS William P. Lawrence, and the Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands, Kauai.

About the ESSM

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.

ESSM has 10-inch diameter control and rocket motor sections that tapper to an 8-inch diameter guidance section and utilizes a radome-protected antenna for semi-active homing. The high-thrust, solid-propellant rocket motor provides high maneuverability with tail control and incorporates a Thrust Vector Controller (TVC).