Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says the Government has awarded the prime contract for the frigate combat systems upgrade to Lockheed Martin Canada.
“HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana are nearly 20 years old and it is important to update their self-defence and sensor capabilities systems to a standard comparable to the frigates used by Australia, Canada and the UK,” says Dr Coleman.
“Our international partners place a high value on New Zealand’s ability to deploy a credible maritime combat force into the Pacific and further afield.
Earlier this year, HMNZS Te Mana made a valuable contribution to international anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden, working closely with a range of partners including the US, EU and NATO.”
The frigate combat systems upgrade includes new radars, electronic detection and other above water systems, the self-defence missile system, decoys against missiles and torpedoes, and an upgrade to the hull-mounted sonar.
The total project cost of the combat systems upgrade is $446 million, and is being funded from within the existing NZDF’s baseline as part of the Defence Capability Plan.
“Following a robust and competitive tender process Lockheed Martin Canada was selected as the most suitable and cost effective tenderer,” says Dr Coleman.
“I would like to congratulate Lockheed Martin Canada and associated companies on being awarded this contract. Lockheed Martin Canada have valuable experience in this area having undertaken a similar upgrade of the Canadian Navy Halifax Class frigates.”
The majority of the work will be completed in Canada and includes the procurement and integration into the ships’ combat system of key sensors.
Lockheed Martin Canada is also working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to scope a range of potential opportunities for local companies to support the project.
The final design work for the combat systems upgrade will commence shortly. The upgrade is scheduled to begin in 2016.
The frigates are currently undergoing a platform systems upgrade to modernise heating, ventilation, propulsion and stabilisation systems.
HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana were designed in the late 1980s and introduced into service in 1997 and 1999. In November 2012 Cabinet approved the business case to upgrade the self-defence and sensor capabilities of the frigates.
Press Release, May 1, 2014; Image: Wikimedia