US Navy successfully test launches MK 234 Nulka countermeasure

21 December 2015 (Last Updated December 21st, 2015 18:30)

The US Navy's Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69), also known as Ike, has successfully completed launch trials for the MK 234 Nulka countermeasure.

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The US Navy's Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69), also known as Ike, has successfully completed launch trials for the MK 234 Nulka countermeasure.

Over three days of testing, the vessel used its MK 53 decoy launching system (DLS) to launch the Nulka rapid-response, active expendable decoy, which is designed to provide effective defence for warships against modern anti-ship missiles (ASM).

The aircraft carrier successfully launched the Nulka countermeasure five times, surpassing the minimum test requirement by two launches.

Upon launching, the Nulka decoy radiates a large radar cross section to divert ASMs from their intended targets.

"The Nulka system brings with it a needed upgrade to the Ike's current Anti-Ship Missile Defense (ASMD) capability."

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) senior chief cryptologic technician Christopher Noltee said: "The Nulka system brings with it a needed upgrade to the Ike's current Anti-Ship Missile Defense (ASMD) capability.

"When a signal originates from the ship, you're still a potential target. Nulka gives you separation. This round sends out the electronics, away from your ship. The goal is to get the missile to fly to the Nulka round instead of coming here."

The Nulka countermeasure is considered as a soft-kill weapon system.

Noltee added: "Hard-kill weapons systems are used for both offensive and defensive purposes while soft-kill weapons systems are used strictly for defensive purposes."


Image: A MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter delivers cargo to USS Dwight D Eisenhower vessel at sea. Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jameson E. Lynch / Released.