The final Australian-developed Nulka missile decoy was delivered to the Australian Navy by BAE Systems in April, after three decades of service to Australia, the United States and Canada.
Once launched, Nulka can fly a pre-programmed flight path to entice sea-skimming missiles away from a ship. It has a unique design in that it hovers in mid air while seducing the incoming anti-ship missile.
The joint Australian/United States development program began from an original concept developed in Australia by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation in the early 1970s and the belief that variable-thrust, solid-propellant rocket-motor technology could be used with guidance commands to enable the decoy to hover in controlled flight.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said it represented a significant achievement by a program which had also generated defence exports.
“Nulka is a state-of-the art autonomous hovering rocket decoy that uses sophisticated electronic signals to ‘seduce’ anti-ship missiles away from their targets,” Pyne said.
Full production under the current contract began in 1999. Final assembly of the decoys was completed at Defence’s Mulwala munitions factory in regional New South Wales. The word ‘Nulka’ is of Aboriginal origin and means ‘be quick’.