Launching decoys to distract and confuse inbound sensor-guided missiles, is a key tool in a frigate’s counter-measures armoury. During Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) HMNZS Te Kaha’s transit from Australia, the crew conducted a series of trials and had the opportunity to test their Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS) system. The crew have become very familiar with the newly installed radars, electronic detection, torpedo detection and decoys, self-defence missile system, hull-mounted sonar upgrade and the combat management system that integrates them all.
HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) is one of ten Anzac-class frigates, and one of two serving in the Royal New Zealand Navy . The name Te Kaha is M?ori, meaning ‘fighting prowess’ or ‘strength’. In March 2018, Te Kaha arrived in Victoria, British Columbia to undergo a major upgrade of her combat management system to the Lockheed Martin CMS 330, as well as seeing the replacement of the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow with the new Sea Ceptor surface-to-air missile. The upgrade is expected to cost NZD639 million. In September 2020, the refit of Te Kaha was reportedly complete and the ship began post-upgrade sea trials in preparation for a return to active service.
The frigate is now fitted with the Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS) as part of the extensive Frigate Upgrade Programme they’ve undertaken in Canada. While she has finished the upgrades she has not completed her maintenance routine. This upgrade to frigate’s surveillance, countermeasures and combat capabilities has future-proofed Anzac-class frigates into the 2030’s and made them comparable to the Australian, Canadian and UK frigates. After being away on deployment for the past 10 weeks, Te Kaha and her crew are now back alongside at Devonport and taking a well-earned break before a busy 2022.
Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS) is a naval self-defence system produced by Rheinmetall of Germany. The automatic decoy system MASS provides a unique level of protection against modern sensor-guided missiles. It is connected to the ship’s sensors and protects ships from attacks by advanced sensor-guided missiles by launching decoys that operate in all relevant wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum: ultraviolet, electro-optical, laser, infrared and radar. MASS can be either plugged into the command and control module of a naval vessel, or operate autonomously.