RIMPAC A Win For High End Warfighting

Organ­is­ers of a series of Mis­sile fir­ings at RIMPAC 2010 say the Ships Com­pa­nies of HMAS War­ra­munga (CMDR Bruce Legge) and HMAS New­cas­tle (CMDR Justin Jones) should be con­grat­u­lat­ed for help­ing per­fect a new war fight­ing capa­bil­i­ty in the RAN.

Both ships launched a series of high tech weapon­ry, designed to update Navy’s capa­bil­i­ty and arse­nal. The result was as suc­cess­ful as it was spectacular.


Plan­ning for the Har­poon fir­ing began in 2007. This was the first joint multi­na­tion Har­poon Block II fir­ing on record It was coor­di­nat­ed by the Tac­ti­cal Har­poon User Group which includ­ed experts from the Unit­ed States, Aus­tralia and Canada. 

The com­man­der respon­si­ble for the tac­ti­cal devel­op­ment of the RAN is CMDR Peter Bartlett. 

“The pro­vi­sion of the new Har­poon Block II mis­sile on HMAS War­ra­munga was the result of some very the hard work car­ried out by sup­port­ing organ­i­sa­tions such as the ANZAC SPO and Guid­ed Weapons Branch,” CMDR Bartlett said. 

To enable the Har­poon Block II to fire, the ANZAC SPO inte­grat­ed the GPS into the advanced har­poon weapon con­trol con­sole. The Guid­ed Weapons Branch acquired and prepped the weapons and made sure all the teleme­try equip­ment was ready for use. 

HMAS War­ra­munga had begun prac­tic­ing for the Har­poon launch well before depart­ing for Hawaii. Spe­cif­ic train­ing includ­ed prac­tices in har­bour in Jan­u­ary and drills at sea dur­ing this year’s Fleet Con­cen­tra­tion Period. 

That evo­lu­tion also involved the Ori­on crew from 11 Squadron (RAAF Edin­burgh) who were involved dur­ing the actu­al har­poon fir­ing. CO 11 SQN WGCDR Phillip Cham­pi­on, who led 93 per­son­nel and two AP-3C Ori­on to RIMPAC, said it was great to be work­ing with Navy again. “It was a great event for us from a coor­di­na­tion per­spec­tive with War­ra­munga and also from a high end war­fare fight­ing per­spec­tive,” WGCDR Cham­pi­on said. 

CMDR Bartlett agrees – the plan­ning process has led to the devel­op­ment of a whole new rela­tion­ship with 11 SQN and 92 WG per­son­nel over the past year. 

“They’ve been heav­i­ly involved in mak­ing this work. They’ve done the seri­als with the cruis­es that are actu­al­ly going to do the fir­ings and then I’ve been involved with brief­ing their crews so it’s real­ly brought us clos­er togeth­er as a Navy and the Air Force.”


The suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the sur­face to air mis­sile exer­cise (SAMEX) sig­ni­fied the final phase of the FFG upgrade with HMAS New­cas­tle and HMAS War­ra­munga car­ry­ing out one of the most com­plex SAMEX fir­ings ever attempt­ed. Accord­ing to plan­ners it was also the first Stan­dard Mis­sile 2 (SM2) fir­ing at an air tar­get from an RAN ship and the first fired from an FFG in the world. 

The SAMEX involved the fir­ing of one Stan­dard Mis­sile 2 (SM2) and one Evolved Sea Spar­row Mis­siles (ESSM) from New­cas­tle and two ESSM’s from Warramunga. 

“It was impor­tant because we are look­ing to move our Navy from con­duct­ing man­u­al engage­ments, CMDR Bartlett explained. With the com­ing of Navy’s new Air War­fare Destroy­ers, we have to get used to a new way of con­duct­ing sur­face warfare.” 

“We have to use the sys­tems auto­mat­ic capa­bil­i­ties and devel­op our skills in that area. It would be fair to say that the future of com­bined joint task­ing for the RAN is indeed look­ing bright.” 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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