The first Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Anzac-class frigates to be modernised in Canada under the Frigate System Upgrade (FSU) programme is now planned to complete its upgrade at the end of 2020. HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) is currently completing setting-to-work and commissioning activities at Seaspan Shipyards’ facility in Victoria, British Columbia. Sister ship HMNZS Te Mana is also at the Seaspan yard, having arrived in Victoria in March last year to begin its FSU refit. Lockheed Martin Canada is taking the role of prime contractor and combat system integrator for the FSU programme, which is designed to restore the ANZAC frigates’ ability to fulfil credible combat roles and provide high-quality surveillance products.
HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) is one of ten Anzac-class frigates, and one of two serving in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). The name Te Kaha is Māori, meaning ‘fighting prowess’ or ‘strength’. Te Kaha was laid down at Williamstown, Victoria on 19 September 1994. The ship was assembled from six hull modules and six superstructure modules; the superstructure modules were fabricated in Whangarei, New Zealand, and hull modules were built at both Williamstown and Newcastle, New South Wales, with final integration at Williamstown. She was launched on 22 July 1995, and commissioned into the RNZN on 22 July 1997.
HMNZS Te Kaha arrived in Canada in 2018, where it proceeded to the Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton for de-storing of equipment and preservation of ship systems in preparation for the handover and start of the industrial refit. As Prime Systems Integrator, Lockheed Martin Canada is responsible for designing and supplying the upgraded combat system for each ANZAC Class Frigate, including a new combat management system – based on Lockheed Martin Canada’s Combat Management System 330 – along with the supply and integration of various sensors, a missile system and a Combat Systems Trainer. Under Lockheed Martin Canada supervision and direction, Seaspan Shipyards will refit and install the new systems with an expected completion date of 2020 for the entire contract.
The two Anzac class frigates, HMNZS TE KAHA and HMNZS TE MANA, are the main fighting ships of the Navy and play a vital role in protecting New Zealand, its exports, maritime resources and those of New Zealand allies. The Anzac class is a ship class of ten frigates; eight operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and two operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). The Anzacs are based on Blohm + Voss’ MEKO 200 PN (or Vasco da Gama-class) 3,600-tonne (3,500-long-ton; 4,000-short-ton) frigates, modified to meet Australian and New Zealand specifications and maximise the use of locally built equipment.