The Nulka active missile decoy has been successfully fired from a U.S. Navy CVN Class aircraft carrier for the first time. On December 16, 2015, the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) completed the first successful carrier launch of the Mk-234 Nulka countermeasure fired from the Mk-53 Decoy Launching System (DLS).
Five successful decoy launches took place over three days. Two of BAE Systems Australia’s employees were also on-board to support the trial. While Nulka has been used by smaller U.S. naval vessels for years, it had never been fired from a ship as large as an aircraft carrier before. The successful firings also expand our Company’s presence on U.S. Navy major ships.
The Nulka active missile decoy is the most sophisticated soft-kill defence system against anti-ship missiles available for the protection of surface warships. It is currently deployed on over 150 Australian, U.S. and Canadian warships.
The Nulka system is the result of a collaborative development between Australia and the U.S., and brings together advanced flight vehicle guidance and control techniques, and sophisticated RF electronic technologies. Fully autonomous after launch, the unique flight vehicle design allows the decoy’s flight-path to be maintained with a high degree of precision over a wide range of environmental conditions, resulting in extremely high levels of mission effectiveness against modern anti-ship missiles.
The thrust vector controlled solid fuel rocket motor provides rapid response against detected threats, while the extended decoy flight duration supports the engagement of multiple threats. Accurate control of the flight vehicle allows for optimal positioning of the decoy, independent of ship manoeuvre, and minimises the likelihood of collateral damage to friendly forces.
Nulka is an integral element of a comprehensive, integrated layered defence system, and its unique capabilities complement conventional hard-kill missile and gun systems.
Nulka has been integrated with Arleigh Burke DDG, Ticonderoga CG, Oliver Hazard Perry FFG (Australian Adelaide Class FFG), San Antonio LPD, Whidbey Island LPD, Bertholf, ANZAC FFH and Iroquois DDG class ships. All U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers equipped with AEGIS have Nulka included in their layered defense system. Future installations are planned for the Royal Australian Navy’s Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) and Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD).
BAE Systems Australia is the Nulka prime contractor and System Design Agent. Lockheed Martin Inc. (USA) is the Design Agent for the electronic warfare payload. Aerojet Inc. (USA) manufacture the rocket motor. BAE Systems manufactures the flight control hardware at their manufacturing facility in Edinburgh Parks (SA), and assembles and tests the completed Nulka Round at their Nulka Round Assembly Facility in Mulwala (NSW).
Nulka is Australia’s largest regular defence export program and pre-planned product improvement activities are ongoing to enhance the performance of the system.