Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) presents participating nations with opportunities to work together on mutually beneficial defence projects. HMAS Success was the ideal platform to support Australia’s involvement in the practical component of a joint Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, United States and United Kingdom co-ordinated electronic warfare experiment known as TAPA.
TAPA is a long-term series of experiments, which test new and emerging systems that are designed to protect ships from missiles and disrupt their initial targeting. The purpose of the practical component, completed onboard Success over the first five days of the RIMPAC sea phase, was to improve current practice and test new methods of anti-ship missile defence.
Significant resources were required to conduct the practical tests. Apart from Success, it involved four other surface fleet units, including HMCS Calgary, and United States Ships Lake Champlain, Sampson, and Spruance; two Lear jets, one US and one Australian; a flight of US F/A-18s from USS Ronald Reagan which conducted simulated attacks on the task force; P3s from Australia, the US and New Zealand; along with 40 mainly civilian sea-riders and 100 additional people ashore.
Lieutenant Charles Marchant, a Royal Australian Navy Weapons Testing Officer who assisted in the conduct of the trials in Success, said the evolution was a significant undertaking.
“It has been a very complex exercise, with unique specialised equipment and the support from Success’ Ship’s Company has been second to none,” Lieutenant Marchant said.
“The time spent at sea during RIMPAC has been invaluable to the experiment and Success has most certainly contributed to the future of missile defence technology,” he said.