After New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence announced it had awarded the UK supplier Systems Engineering and Assessments (SEA) a $32.9m contract to install a modern communications system in its two Anzac-class frigates, the contractor has recently subcontracted RF Products Inc to deliver a multi-mode, multi-band radio frequency (RF) system on the ships.

The Navy commissioned its two Anzac-class frigatesTe Kaha (F77) and Te Mana (F111) – in 1997 and 1999 respectively.

Anzac has one eight-cell Mk41 vertical launching system for Nato Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles. Sea Sparrow is a semi-active radar missile with a range of 14.5km.

Radio frequency communications

Meanwhile, the new subcontractor RF Products has been in business with the Royal New Zealand Navy since 1991 and has over 100 years of experience in RF Tuning. The New Jersey-based company will be providing their VHF/UHF Multi-Mode, Multi-Band RF Distribution System to support the bespoke SEA system’s open architecture.

The system’s open architecture will also meet interoperability requirements, allowing the Royal New Zealand Navy to communicate with partner navies and support missions with friendly countries such as neighbouring Australia.

The system will allow FSC radio system operators to adapt platform external communications more easily to changes in mission focus.

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Reducing further costs until Anzac replacement

The bespoke SEA system reduces through-life costs and associated maintenance of the frigate’s new communication capability. The flexible, modular system will enable the Navy to integrate equipment, including cryptos and radios, regardless of the manufacturer or supplier.

Reducing through-life costs will help until the Navy replaces its two ships in the near future. GlobalData expects the two Anzacs will be replaced as the navy procured them in 1997-1999. New Zealand’s frigate procurement will cost around $1.5bn; another planned programme for the Southern Ocean Patrol Vessel will cost approximately $400m.