The Australian Government is to invest A$207m ($158.3m) to upgrade Nulka anti-ship missile defence system used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) vessels.

The upgradation programme on the BAE Systems-built capability will be carried out over the next 20 years.

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Work under the programme will include installation of a new launch system and supporting technology to improve Nulka’s effectiveness.

The programme will also include installation of new launch systems on the Anzac frigates that are being upgraded as part of the A$2bn ($1.53bn), six-year Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Programme.

The upgraded rocket-propelled active missile decoy will be installed on all RAN frigates and Hobart-class destroyers and introduced for the first time on the Canberra-class landing helicopter docks.

“This project will pave the way for continued development of one of Australia’s most successful defence exports.”

Designed to entice hostile radio frequency guided anti-ship missiles away from a ship, Nulka has been protecting Australia’s major surface fleet units since its development.

BAE Systems chief executive Glynn Phillips said: “Nulka’s unique capabilities are world-leading and ensure Australia’s navy has the world’s most effective anti-ship missile defence available.

“We have over 25 years of experience in the development, integration, test, operation, and support of autonomous systems, from platforms to decoys to guided weapons.

“It’s important that investment in bespoke Australian defence technologies continues to deliver increased capabilities that will benefit the nation.

“This project will pave the way for continued development of one of Australia’s most successful defence exports.”

Nulka will continue to be upgraded over the coming decades to keep pace with anti-ship missile technologies, the Australian Department of Defence stated.