The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon military aircraft has successfully launched its first Harpoon missile.
The firing was carried out during Exercise RIMPAC 2018 at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, off the coast of Hawaii, US.
Once released from the aircraft, the missile was successful in striking its target, a decommissioned US Navy ship, USS Racine.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said that the ATM-84J Harpoon missile forms an integral part to the P-8A Poseidon reaching full operational capability.
Payne said: “The successful launch of the Harpoon requires a significant effort from a range of specialist personnel.
“The men and women of the RAAF’s 92 Wing should be proud to have achieved this key step in the realisation of this important capability for Australia.”
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Payne added: “Our partnership with the US Navy has allowed us access to the Range Facility, a long-standing agreement, which has seen the successful testing of many Australian Defence Force (ADF) weapons systems across both the airforce and navy.”
The Harpoon is a subsonic high-explosive over-the-horizon sea skimming anti-ship missile, which was first produced by McDonnell Douglas, now part of Boeing, in 1975.
Designed to replace the RAAF’s AP-3C Orions, which are slated to be withdrawn from service between this year and the next, the P-8A aircraft are equipped with advanced sensors and mission systems, including new multi-role radar, high-definition cameras and an acoustic system.
Exercise RIMPAC 18 is a multinational maritime exercise, which involves the participation of 25 nations.