Communication upgrades for Anzac Frigates

30/08/2023 News

Work is underway to build and install new communications systems on New Zealand’s two Anzac frigates, HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana.

“The project will deliver modern communications systems to meet the most recent international interoperability and security standards and to ensure secure communication with our partners.  This includes upgraded radios and satellite communications across a wide spectrum, and sophisticated control systems,” Sarah Minson, Deputy Secretary Capability Delivery at the Ministry of Defence said.

UK supplier Systems Engineering and Assessments (SEA) is leading the build and installation on the $52 million contract, working with New Zealand-based companies, Beca, Marops, and McKay. The three New Zealand companies were previously involved in the design phase of the project, also led by SEA.

SEA Managing Director Richard Flitton said the company is fully focused on bringing the communications system in to service over the coming years, and on developing in-country training, skills and expertise through local partners.  “Engagement with New Zealand industry commenced in 2016, and relationships had matured with our Anzac partners by 2019 for what was our first in-country project. Through the design phase of the project, Beca, McKay and Marops have offered invaluable support and insight that will greatly benefit the build and install phase of the programme,” he said.

Beca will test and validate the upgraded capability, Marops will develop and supply computer-based training packages for the maintainers and operators, while McKay will undertake the installation.

“It is great to see these companies working together through to the second phase of this important project – bringing benefits to New Zealand industry and strengthening regional supply chains,” Sarah Minson said.

The two Anzac-class frigates are high-end capabilities capable of undertaking a wide range of operations in support of New Zealand’s interests, ranging from Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to combat roles as part of a multinational coalition.

The frigates were commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Navy in the late 1990s. In combination with the recent systems upgrade to their combat, surveillance and counter measures, their sustainment programme and this communications upgrade, the Anzac frigates will provide the Royal New Zealand Navy with a proven and reliable combat capability out to the mid-2030s. 

Work on the new system for each frigate is expected to take place during scheduled maintenance.