While Covid-19 has had an impact on the programme, work has continued throughout March and April on HMNZS TE KAHA and HMNZS TE MANA.
Both ships are in Victoria, British Columbia undergoing an extensive Frigate Systems Upgrade.
‘This upgrade programme covers a complex and wide-ranging package of work,’ says FSU Project Manager Nick Proctor. “It includes the removal and replacement of both masts, the refurbishment of the Operations Room, the installation of a new Combat Management System and the integration of a new suite of sensors and weapons, including a new missile system.”
In November 2019 HMNZS TE KAHA was handed back to the Crown, and into the care and custody of Commander Brock Symmons, TE KAHA’s Commanding Officer. Since handover, the crew have been supporting the project team and Lockheed Martin with Set to Work of the platform and combat systems.
In April a significant milestone was achieved with the successful set to work of the Combat Management System. The CMS is the core of the frigate systems upgrade, into which the suite of new sensors and weapons will be integrated. This is a complex software implementation and required successful connectivity of around 600 cables containing thousands of connections. This success is due in part to the decision to select an off the shelf product, substantial factory testing and Lockheed Martin’s experience installing this product.
HMNZS TE MANA is mid-way through her industrial upgrade at Victoria Shipyards (VSL) in Esquimalt. VSL have managed their shipyard through the Covid-19 situation extremely well and it is significant that they have remained open throughout this pandemic as other shipyards have had to close for a period. Commander Mike Peebles, TE MANA’s Commanding Officer, has a small team on site to carry out the maintenance routines required to ensure successful legacy systems reactivation once the industrial phase is complete. This approach has proven to be very successful for TE KAHA.
THE SEA CEPTOR MISSILE
The Royal New Zealand Navy has taken delivery of HMNZS TE KAHA’s and TE MANA’s ultimate surface to air defence weapon – the Sea Ceptor missile.
The supersonic missiles, replacing the Sea Sparrow missile system on the Anzac frigates, were delivered to New Zealand in January from the United Kingdom, ready for installation into the refurbished frigates as a Local Area Air Defence anti-missile system.
Sea Ceptor, designed by MBDA Missile Systems, was originally developed for the Royal Navy for Type 23 frigates and Type 26 Global Combat Ships. They entered service in May 2018.