New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha arrives in Canada for combat system upgrade

Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha has arrived in Canada where she will undergo combat management system upgrades at Seaspan’s shipyard in Victoria, British Columbia. 

The 25-day passage to British Columbia was marked by a brief port visit in Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor where Te Kaha and her crew represented New Zealand as part of the United States’ commemoration of Presidents’ Day.

For the final leg of the voyage, the crew was supplemented by a group of 10 Royal Canadian Naval Reserve personnel who had an opportunity to experience working life on board the frigate.

During her time in Canada, HMNZS Te Kaha will be fitted with updated equipment and systems including the combat management system, radar and underwater sonar.

The contract for the upgrade of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s two Anzac-class frigates was signed between the New Zealand government and Lockheed Martin Canada on April 29, 2014.

Under the terms of the contract, Lockheed Martin Canada is responsible for the design, installation and integration of the CMS and a combat system trainer for the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland, as well as the procurement of new sensor and weapon systems for HMNZ ships Te Mana and Te Kaha.

Lockheed Martin Canada’s CMS 330 combat management system was initially developed for Canada’s Department of National Defence and then modified for the Royal New Zealand Navy with Canada’s support.

“There is a significant programme of work to upgrade or replace New Zealand’s defence equipment that aims to maintain the safety of our military personnel and the country’s ability and readiness to deploy when needed, both in this country and overseas,” New Zealand defense minister Ron Mark said announcing the frigate’s arrival in Canada.

An additional $148 million was approved by the New Zealand government to ensure the upgrade could proceed, bringing the total project budget to $639 million.

“The government’s decision reflects the value placed on our frigates and their ability to operate across and support a wide range of operations,” Mark said.

In addition CMS upgrades, the frigates will also be receiving MBDA’s Sea Ceptor vertical launched, active Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (Maritime) – CAMM(M) which will replace the current RIM7P NATO Seasparrow missile system.

The upgrade of the second frigate, HMNZS Te Mana, is scheduled to take place in 2019.