Four of Australia’s Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigates will be capable of firing the SM-2 missile after the Government approved a $550 million upgrade of their area air defense missile systems, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.
Senator Hill said the upgrade of HMA Ships Darwin, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney by early 2009 would significantly improve the air warfare capabilities of the Royal Australian Navy.
“The SM-2 missile is a member of the Standard Missile family produced by Raytheon and a highly capable modern variant of the ageing SM-1 missile system currently used on the FFGs,” Senator Hill said.
“SM-2 benefits from significant improvements in communication techniques, advanced signal processing and propulsion improvements. The missile has an improved range to more than 50 nautical miles and enhanced performance against modern anti-ship missiles and aircraft.
“The upgrade will significantly extend the range of the area air defense region and provide greater potential for target intercept and destruction – a major capability boost for the Navy and a great asset for potential coalition operations.
“The SM-2 missile, or a derivative of it, will also be incorporated into our future Air Warfare Destroyers.”
Senator Hill said the Government selected the SM-2 missile following a stringent testing and evaluation program with the assistance of the United States Navy.
The project covers the acquisition of SM-2 missiles and their integration into the FFGs. Missiles purchased will be both the training and live variants.
Equipment installation will be carried out in Australia. Australian industry involvement in the repair, maintenance and manufacture of components for the SM-2 missile is also being pursued.