HMAS Canberra Tests Upgraded Nulka Anti-Ship Missile Decoy System

The Royal Australian Navy’s Canberra-class landing helicopter dock, HMAS Canberra (L02) has tested the upgraded Nulka anti-ship missile decoy system during an exercise off the south coast of New South Wales.

Nulka decoy system, one of the ship’s key defensive capabilities, have been tested with the use of civilian aircraft including an underslung Nulka payload carried by helicopter and a Learjet simulating an incoming anti-ship missile (AShM).

The cutting-edge capability was tested as part of Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER 2018 and in collaboration with Defence industry partners.

Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer Lieutenant Commander Mark Williams said the trial was an integral part of ensuring Navy’s ability to fight and win at sea. “The Nulka is a hovering rocket decoy system that prevents anti-ship missiles from becoming a threat to our force,” he said. “It forms a part of our layered defensive capability in the maritime environment.”

“During the testing of new components, we aimed to increase the tactical effectiveness of the Nulka against anti-ship missiles”, he added.

Navy works continually and cooperatively with industry and in this activity joined with the Defence Science and Technology Group, Air Affairs Australia and Kestrel Australia to conduct the trials at an opportune time during OCEAN EXPLORER 2018.

“We used fast jets fitted with missile simulators, and helicopters carrying a Nulka payload to generate a realistic missile engagement scenario,” Lieutenant Commander Williams said. “The more effective Nulka is, the more enhanced will be the defence of our largest ships, the Landing Helicopter Docks…Working with the Defence Science and Technology Group and other industry partners ensures that we are provided with up to date technology and leading-edge tactics.”

Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER is one of the largest fleet training activities conducted by the Royal Australian Navy.

Nulka active missile decoy

Nulka is an Australian designed and developed active missile decoy built by an American/Australian collaboration. It is a rocket propelled, disposable, offboard, active decoy designed to ″seduce″ anti-ship missiles away from their targets.

The word “Nulka” is of Australian Aboriginal origin and means “be quick”.

The system is used aboard warships of the United States Navy (USN), Royal Australian Navy (RAN), United States Coast Guard (USCG), and Royal Canadian Navy,

It has a unique design in that it hovers in mid air while seducing the incoming anti-ship missile. The hovering rocket concept was initiated in Australia by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), and the system was designed, developed and then manufactured by AWA Defence Industries (AWADI) (now BAE Systems Australia).

The Nulka consists of the missile itself enclosed in a hermetically sealed canister. This canister is then contained in a Launcher module (as fitted to RAN and USCG vessels), or a Mark 36 launcher (as fitted to USN vessels).

As of October 2010 Nulka had been fitted to more than 150 Australian, Canadian and United States warships and over 1,000 decoys had been produced.

Nulka has earned more than $1 billion for Australia in exports and is Australia’s most successful defence export.

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