The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon aircraft has successfully fired its first Harpoon missile during Exercise RIMPAC 18.

The ATM-84J Harpoon missile was launched from the aircraft at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, off the coast of Hawaii.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said the Harpoon is integral to the P-8A reaching full operational capability.

“The successful launch of the Harpoon requires a significant effort from a range of specialist personnel,” Minister Payne said.

The Harpoon was released within the Pacific Missile Range Facility and successfully struck its target, the former USS Racine, a decommissioned US Naval ship.

“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,” Minister Payne said.

“Our partnership with the United States Navy has allowed us access to the Range Facility, a long standing agreement which has seen the successful testing of many Australian Defence Force weapons systems across both Air Force and Navy.”

Exercise RIMPAC 18 is the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise, with 25 nations participating.

The Australian Defence Force is participating with Royal Australian Navy HMA Ships Adelaide, Success, Melbourne, Toowoomba and Rankin; Australian Army’s 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; and the Royal Australian Air Force’s P-8A Poseidon.