Australian Navy ship HMAS Canberra tests Nulka upgrades

1 March 2018 (Last Updated March 1st, 2018 12:31)

The Royal Australian Navy's (RAN) amphibious ship HMAS Canberra has tested upgrades to the Nulka anti-ship missile decoy system off the south coast of New South Wales.

Australian Navy ship HMAS Canberra tests Nulka upgrades
Navy personnel manning the console in the operations room on-board HMAS Canberra during a Nulka trial. Credit: Royal Australian Navy.

The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) amphibious ship HMAS Canberra has tested upgrades to the Nulka anti-ship missile decoy system off the south coast of New South Wales.

RAN Weapons electrical engineering officer lieutenant commander Mark Williams said that the Nulka is a hovering rocket decoy system that is primarily used against anti-ship missiles.

Williams added: “It forms a part of our layered defensive capability in the maritime environment.

“During the testing of new components, we aimed to increase the tactical effectiveness of the Nulka against anti-ship missiles.”

"We used fast jets fitted with missile simulators, and helicopters carrying a Nulka payload to generate a realistic missile engagement scenario."

The trials were conducted in order to demonstrate the RAN’s ability to fight and win during sea-based conflicts.

RAN’s missile defence capabilities were tested using a civilian aircraft and included an under-slung Nulka payload carried by helicopter, as well as a Learjet aircraft that simulated an incoming anti-ship missile.

The Nulka enhancements have been trialled in collaboration with Australia’s defence industry partners as part of this year’s Ocean Explorer exercise, which represents one of the RAN’s largest fleet training activities.

Williams further added: “We used fast jets fitted with missile simulators, and helicopters carrying a Nulka payload to generate a realistic missile engagement scenario.

“The more effective Nulka is, the more enhanced will be the defence of our largest ships, the Landing Helicopter Docks.”

RAN collaborated with the Defence Science and Technology Group, Air Affairs Australia and Kestrel Australia in order to carry out the tests.

The Nulka active missile decoy has been developed by the US in cooperation with Australia.

BAE Systems Australia is acting as the prime contractor and system design agent for the initiative, while Lockheed Martin is the design agent for the electronic warfare payload.

Aerojet was responsible for the manufacture of the system’s rocket motor.

The Nulka system features advanced flight vehicle guidance and control techniques, in addition to upgraded radio frequency (RF) electronic technologies.