Frigate Systems Upgrade Programme draws to a close

31/05/2022 News

The Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana and its 165-strong crew are setting sail for Aotearoa New Zealand, following completion of a major systems upgrade in Canada.

“This complex programme of work has upgraded both Anzac-class frigates’ combat systems including radars, weapons, hardware, electronic systems, and sonars,” said Mike Yardley Deputy Secretary Capability Delivery at the Ministry of Defence. “I’d like to thank the Royal Canadian Navy for their support while the frigates have been based in Victoria.”

The Frigate Systems Upgrade is one of a series of projects that has replaced or upgraded aging or obsolete systems, extending the Anzac-class frigates’ operational life out to 2035.

“With the upgraded HMNZS Te Kaha already home, the return of HMNZS Te Mana signals the restoration of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s combat capability,” said Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor.

“Once their modern systems have been fully introduced, the frigates will provide Aotearoa with high end options over the full range of maritime operations. Te Kaha and Te Mana will be able to deploy anywhere in the world to advance our national interests, including providing maritime security alongside our partners where needed.”

The upgrade by Lockheed Martin Canada has delivered new radars, electronic detection and other above water systems, the self-defence missile system, decoys against missiles and torpedoes, and upgrade to the hull-mounted sonar, and the combat management system that integrates these.

Lockheed Martin Canada were contracted to complete the upgrade and, after stripping out legacy systems, began the project’s installation phase in May 2018 on HMNZS Te Kaha, with working commencing on Te Mana in 2019.

“The work for each frigate involved removal of 44 tonnes of old equipment and structure, and the addition of 67 tonnes of new equipment. More than 55 kilometres of new cabling was pulled through the two ships; and over two million lines of code was written, linking the ships’ weapons and sensors to her new combat management system,” Mike Yardley said.

On returning to Aotearoa, Te Mana will undertake a series of trials, tests, and exercises, allowing for the progressive release of the ship’s operational capabilities.

About HMNZS Te Mana link)