Tenders will be sought to upgrade the self-defence and sensor capabilities of the Royal New Zealand navy frigates HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana, Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman announced today.
“The frigates are a vital part of our Defence Force but the weapons and sensor systems were designed in the late 1980s and require a mid-life upgrade,” said Dr Coleman.
Cabinet has approved a Detailed Business Case and a Request for Tender will be issued by the Ministry of Defence early next year.
The project aims to replace the hardware and software of the Combat Management Systems on the ships, modernise radars and sensors, and replace the self defence missile systems.
“This will address issues of obsolescence with the ships technology as well as ensuring the vessels are a credible capability which can operate in the South Pacific and wider Asia Pacific region” said Dr Coleman.
“The Defence White Paper 2010 identified the ANZAC frigates would require an upgrade by 2017 to address obsolescence, surveillance systems, and anti-missile protection. The government is delivering on the White Paper,” said Dr Coleman.
The ANZAC frigates’ propulsion and close-in weapon systems have already been upgraded. The next tier of work would effectively complete a mid-life upgrade ensuring another 15 years service life.
“No funding commitment has yet been made. Only after going to market through an open and competitive tender process will the government consider making its investment decision,” said Dr Coleman.
Cabinet is likely to further consider the project in the latter half of next year, and once the commercially sensitive tender process is completed give an indication on costs.The project will be funded by a combination of depreciation and savings from within existing baselines and will require no further money.