Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force
“Command Approved, Sea Sparrow,” and with that the warship HMNZS TE KAHA let fly a NATO Sea Sparrow Missile in a live practice firing, achieving the successful destruction of a towed air ‘enemy’ target.20 July 2012
Missile Firing Success for Royal New Zealand Navy Warship
“Command Approved, Sea Sparrow,” and with that the warship HMNZS TE KAHA let fly a NATO Sea Sparrow Missile in a live practice firing, achieving the successful destruction of a towed air ‘enemy’ target.
The firing of a live Sea Sparrow missile occurred this week as part of the ship’s participation in exercise RIMPAC 2012 on the United States Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility north of Hawaii.
The Commanding Officer of HMNZS TE KAHA, Commander Jon Beadsmore was thrilled with the successful event.
“Live firings are an important part of testing the capability of our ships. They ensure a full ‘end-to-end’ check of the ship’s systems is conducted, which extends from maintenance of the ship’s radar and missile guidance systems through to the actual missile launch, destruction of the target and analysis of the flight data.”
The practice missile is equipped with an inert payload that allows data to be recorded from the firing to allow an analysis of the effectiveness of the missile and its guidance system.
“The instant I gave approval to fire was one of the easiest decisions of my life. I have a great team of 170 highly skilled professional war fighters working for me who are well trained, highly motivated and fully supported by a host of uniformed and civilian personnel ashore. If it has been properly forged, honed and aimed. The tip of the arrow has the easiest job.”
A significant component of the firing is the analysis of the training and competencies of all those personnel involved which includes embarkation, storage, preparation, launch and provision of data to the missile needed to complete a successful engagement. A frigate conducts one or two live firings of its weapons systems every two years and this particular weapon cost $778k.
Currently the ship is enjoying the opportunity to take part in the biggest maritime military exercise in the world; RIMPAC 12. Based out of the Hawaiian Islands, the ship is ‘plugged into’ an organisation of 22 countries, a total of 25,000 personnel, 42 ships, six submarines, and over 200 aircraft. TE KAHA is joined by the RNZN Operational Dive Team, Mine Counter Measures Team, a Rifle Platoon from 1 RNZIR, a P3K maritime patrol aircraft (with two crews) and personnel working ashore and afloat in a number of Headquarters.
Link to the video footage of the missile firing: http://youtu.be/I46i7TV9g28