The RAN’s lead Project SEA 4000 air warfare destroyer vessel, HMAS Hobart has successfully conducted its first missile firing in Australian waters.
The test was conducted on August 14 in the East Australia Exercise Area off the south coast of New South Wales, and involved the firing of a Raytheon RIM-66 SM-2 surface-to-air missile from the vessel’s Mk41 vertical launch system (VLS) against an unmanned airborne target. The test follows a six-month upgrade during which Hobart received an upgrade to its combat system and its aviation spaces while in dry dock in Sydney.
“The missile firing was an opportunity to test recent upgrades to the ship’s Aegis combat system and prepare the ship’s company for their upcoming deployment,” Hobart’s Commanding Officer, CMDR Ryan Gaskin said in a statement. “Our advanced sensors provide a real-time picture of the tactical situation, which when combined with our weapons systems gives us a formidable defence capability.”
Leading Seaman Electronic Technician Katie Thorburn was directly responsible for firing the missile. “I wasn’t nervous firing the missile as I’d done it before and we’ve trained a lot of hours for this,” she said. “Last year we trained for over 150 hours for a similar scenario and we’ve done over a week’s worth of training this year for this firing. I wasn’t nervous at all – after all of our training, it was all down to muscle memory.”
HMAS Hobart had previously successfully conducted live-fire testing of all of its weapons and combat systems during tests off the US west coast late last year.
The firing is an important milestone prior to Hobart’s Unit Readiness Evaluation (URE) which it will complete before its first operational deployment as part of a task group to north Asia in September.