The Government of New Zealand has announced that work is underway to upgrade the communication systems of its two Anzac-class frigates HMNZS Te Kaha and Te Mana.

This comes after the cabinet approved the $14.63m (NZ$21.2m) design of a new frigate communications system. The solution will include a updated control system, modern radios, data and voice communication systems.

New Zealand Minister of Defence Peeni Henare said: “The advances in communications technologies since the frigates were built in the mid-90s have been huge, so this is a great opportunity to future proof their communications systems.

“This communications upgrade will ensure the naval combat force can keep pace with changes in technology, and continue to carry out the broad range of tasks requested of it by the government.”

The upgrade works will enable the two frigates handle the increasing volume of data generated by modern communications systems as well as operate with other coalition partners.

Minister Henare added: “The frigate systems upgrade undertaken in Canada has seen the operational life of the frigates extended out to the mid-2030s, with enhanced combat capabilities, surveillance and counter measures.

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“This upgrade will ensure our personnel have the equipment and capability they rely on to deliver what the people of New Zealand need.”

HMNZS Te Kaha and Te Mana are the main fighting ships of Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). The vessels can be used in a variety of missions including combat, search and rescue, humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

The upgrade project will be delivered in phases with new capability expected to be available from 2024.

In June, RNZN placed an order with Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) for four REMUS 300 uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs).