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Australian Navy Conducts Test-Fire of ESSM Missile

The test was conducted off the coast of the Southern Californian Exercise Area in the US, for the country’s latest DDG to be declared fit for deployment.

Australian Fleet commander rear admiral Mark Hammond announced on Twitter last week that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has successfully conducted a test firing of its Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) for the first time from the Hobart-class Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG) HMAS Sydney.

The test was conducted off the coast of the Southern Californian Exercise Area in the US and was done as part of its Combat System Sea Qualification Trials, for the country’s latest DDG to be declared fit for deployment.

“HMAS Sydney launched her first Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile during combat system trials off the USA recently. The firing is the first of many used to assess the combat capability of Australia’s newest DDG,” Hammond said on Twitter.

The RIM-162 ESSM is a Raytheon-built guided missile developed by the US Navy and nine NATO members. It is designed to provide defense and firepower against high-speed, highly maneuverable anti-ship missiles at sea. It also has a range of about 27 nautical miles (50 km or 31 mi) and a top speed of Mach 4+.

Australia’s Newest Guided Missile Destroyer

In March, Australia’s HMAS Sydney left Fleet Base East in Sydney for the tests. 

It joined the RAN fleet in May last year and is now the third and final Hobart-class DDG to conduct the testing, with the other two being Hobart and Brisbane. The destroyers are based on the Navantia-designed F-100 frigate and are equipped with the Aegis Combat System.

Last week, Australia announced that it would upgrade its four military training facilities in the north and expand joint drills with US forces amid tensions between China and Taiwan. The plan, expected to cost more than half a billion US dollars, will be implemented over the next five years.

“We will always do what is necessary to ensure Australia has the capability it needs to protect and defend its interests,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

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