Navy excels during live missile firing

Published on LCDR Todd Fitzgerald (author), LSIS Christopher Szumlanski (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Stuart (F153), Exercise RIMPAC, AGM-84 Harpoon Missile

HMAS Stuart conducts a live harpoon missile firing off the coast of Hawaii during Exercise RIMPAC 2020. (photo: LSIS Christopher Szumlanski)
HMAS Stuart conducts a live harpoon missile firing off the coast of Hawaii during Exercise RIMPAC 2020.

The Royal Australian Navy has proven its warfighting capability with devastating effect at Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020.

Anzac Class frigate HMAS Stuart successfully fired two harpoon missiles and coordinated the missile firings of three other ships during one of RIMPAC’s best-known serials called the SINKEX, where participants sink a decommissioned warship.

Two of the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm MH-60R Romeo helicopters embarked in HMA Ships Hobart and Arunta also fired Hellfire missiles during the training serial on 29 August.

Gunnery officer in Stuart, Lieutenant Naomi Muir, said live-fire training was critical to ensure Australia maintained a highly capable, agile and lethal fleet.

“It is critical we test our systems to their full capacity,” Lieutenant Muir said.

“Not only to ensure we are familiar with how our systems operate but also how we operate those systems with other navies.

“Simulation is a critical part of our training but there is nothing better than to conduct live-fire training to ensure our systems work effectively with other nations, and that our people know how to use them.”

Able Seaman Electronics Technician Callum Fox is the Fire Control Officer in Stuart, responsible for pushing the button that ultimately launches the missile.

Able Seaman Fox said Stuart had trained to fire the missile since leaving Australia in July.

“Events like these allow us to prove that we are capable of high-end warfare with allied nations. They also allow us to prove our systems and training, and prove to the Australian Government and public that we are a professional and capable navy,” he said.

Ten nations, 22 surface ships, one submarine, multiple aircraft, and about 5300 personnel have participated in RIMPAC this year.

Alongside HMA Ships Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius, the exercise has included forces from Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States.

Participating forces have exercised a wide range of capabilities including multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations and live-fire training events.

Imagery for RIMPAC 2020 is available for viewing/download from the Navy Image Library.