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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