Last Anzac-class frigate docks for anti-ship missile defence upgrade

Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac-class frigate HMAS Stuart (III) was recently docked in preparation for her anti-ship missile defence upgrade.

Both forward and aft masts will be replaced with upgraded combat sensors and communication systems as part of the upgrade.

The upgrade of the ships lasts approximately 12 months. HMAS Parramatta, the most recent ship to complete the upgrade was docked in April, 2015 and finished the upgrade in April, 2016.

The anti-ship missile defense upgrade which set out to upgrade all eight frigates in service with the Royal Australian Navy was initiated by the Australian government in 2007.

Saab Australia, BAE Systems and Naval Ship Management are the main contractors responsible for upgrading the frigates.

HMAS Perth was the first frigate to complete the upgrade in 2011.

As part of the upgrade, HMAS Stuart (III) will receive the new Royal Australian Navy ‘haze grey’ paint. The guided missile vertical launch system will be removed to allow access for engine removal (which then allows them to be overhauled offsite and replaced in the vessel prior to undocking).

Additionally, upper deck mast structures will be removed to allow for a new ‘cupola’ mast to be installed. The new masts house the CEA Phased Array Radar which is the backbone of the upgrade.

The Royal Australian Navy said that HMAS Parramatta received a total of over 600,000 hours of individual labor during the course of her upgrade.