Anzac finishes year with a bang

Published on LCDR Ronald Trigg (author), SBLT Adam Klyne (author)

Topic(s): Training, HMAS Anzac (F150), RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM)

The Vertical Launch System of HMAS Anzac fires an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile during a training exercise. (photo: Unknown)
The Vertical Launch System of HMAS Anzac fires an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile during a training exercise.

For the first time since her since her Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade in 2014, HMAS Anzac has successfully completed an Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile firing against an airborne target.

The milestone was achieved during her Sea Qualification Trials as Anzac proved the capability of her weapon and sensor systems. It was part of a busy period for the crew of Anzac, occurring only weeks after coming out of a maintenance period and completing her Mariner Skills Evaluation, which allowed the ship to safely proceed to sea.

There was a palpable air of anticipation and excitement in the lead up to the firing as it was the first time that many of her crew had seen a live fire.

In charge of coordinating the intricate evolution was Anzac’s Operations Officer, Lieutenant Stephen Gaisford.

“Significant effort is applied to planning and practise of these missile firings,” he said.

“It is an essential way to prove confidence in our equipment, people and training.

“The professionalism of the Operations Room and Weapons Electrical teams ensured a successful missile shoot.”

In his last week onboard Anzac, Lieutenant David Maddison had the unique opportunity to lead the Operations Room team for the evolution.

“The seamless execution of the firing highlighted that adequate training makes even complex evolutions easy,” he said.

For every successful missile firing there are innumerable checks conducted by specialist personnel and for one of Anzac’s guided weapon specialists it was a red letter day. Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Russel Gordon had his first opportunity to personally prepare and launch a missile after 10 years as a vertical launch system maintainer.

“In the lead up to the firing I was very excited but also quite nervous, wondering if everything would work - so when I heard the missile was fired and it left the ship it was an amazing feeling of success and a huge relief,” he said.

Whereas his colleague, Leading Seaman Electronics Technician David Jordan literally had his finger on the button.

“This was definitely a career highlight. Not many people can say that they have launched a missile,” he said.

As a Fire Control Officer in Anzac’s Operations Room he has the sobering responsibility of turning orders into actions by deploying weapons such as the ship’s 5-inch gun, or in the case of this serial, one of her point defence missiles.