Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Arunta, the first frigate to complete the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program, has successfully fired surface-to-air missiles at the 2020 RIMPAC exercises in Hawaii.
Conducted alongside ships from Canada and the United States, Commanding Officer HMAS Arunta Commander Troy Duggan said the firing demonstrated the lethality of the upgraded Anzac Class frigate and its world-class Australian systems.
Completed in June 2019, the upgrade improves the Anzac Class air search capability by replacing the legacy long-range air search radar with the new CEAFAR2-L digital long-range phased-array air search radar developed by Australian company CEA Technologies. This radar complements the existing anti-ship missile defence system.
Commander Duggan explained, “This is the first time an AMCAP frigate has participated in RIMPAC, and demonstrates the capability of the new phased-array radar suite as an integrated sensor for the combat system. These sorts of complex warfighting exercises with multinational partners demonstrate that the Royal Australian Navy is able to operate seamlessly with other highly advanced navies in our region.”
The Anzac Class frigate is the first of her class to undergo the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade at Henderson, Western Australia, as part of Australia’s Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) Alliance.
The aim of AMCAP is to upgrade and update the capability of the Anzac Class frigates to maintain relevance, and to ensure the class remains effective until the introduction of the Hunter Class frigates.
Homeported at HMAS Stirling in WA, Arunta is a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. She is one of seven Anzac Class frigates progressively undergoing AMCAP upgrades, with HMAS Warramunga’s upgrade currently underway.
There are three major elements of the upgrade, that is, a new communications suite, the new air search radar and the platform systems remediation (PSR). The PSR will see the upgrade of systems such as the propulsion control, fridges, waste management and water production.
The WAMA partnership was launched in 2016 to support the Anzacs and includes BAE Systems Australia, Saab Australia, Naval Ship Management and the Commonwealth of Australia. It’s worth more than $2 billion over eight years.
The Henderson-based Australian Marine Complex is integral to Australia’s frontline defence and is an important asset in maintaining the RAN fleet. The Common User Facility has facilitated major works and repair programs for RAN’s Collins Class submarines, Anzac Class frigates and supply tankers.
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HMA Ships Hobart, Stuart, Arunta and Sirius are taking part in Exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii. Ten nations, 22 surface ships, one submarine, multiple aircraft and about 5,300 personnel are participating in this iteration of the biggest international naval exercise.
It includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States.
Participating forces are exercising a wide range of capabilities, including multinational anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations and live-fire training events.