BAE Systems Australia contracted for further Nulka missile decoys

Nulka Missile Decoy
Nulka Missile Decoy

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 16 March that it has contracted BAE Systems Australia for in-service support and round production of the next generation of Nulka missile decoy and launcher systems.

The deal, which is worth up to A$150 million, will be delivered over a five-year period.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said in a statement that the Nulka systems will be installed aboard the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) new surface vessels including the Hunter-class frigates. These are expected to enter construction at Osborne in South Australia in late 2022.

The original Nulka decoy combines a hovering rocket payload carrier vehicle produced by BAE Systems Australia which carries a Lockheed Martin broadband RF repeater payload that is designed to seduce RF homing anti-ship missiles away from their intended targets by generating a large radar cross-section while flying a pre-programmed ship-like trajectory.

The DoD stated that the Nulka system was first installed on RAN surface ships in the late 1990s and is currently deployed with the service’s Anzac-class frigates, Canberra-class amphibious assault vessels, and Hobart-class air warfare destroyers. It has also been fitted to current US Navy (USN) ships such as the Arleigh Burke and Ticonderoga guided missile destroyers.

Work is also in progress on upgrades, with L3Harris earlier contracted in 2015 to develop an enhanced electronic seduction payload under the Advanced Decoy Architecture Program (ADAP). The effort is aimed at fielding an improved Nulka decoy in the USN as a rapid deployment capability (RDC) to address advanced anti-ship missile threats.

ADAP is believed to derived from the earlier Enhanced Nulka (E-Nulka) initiative by the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Australia is also involved in the effort under Project SEA 1397 Phase 5C Nulka Missile Decoy Enhancements, with the DoD announcing in 2017 that it will invest up to A$207 million to upgrade the RAN’s Nulka systems over a 20-year period.

by Jr Ng