The Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) Anzac-class frigate HMNZS Te Kaha is set to begin the shipyard industrial refit phase of the Anzac Frigate Systems Upgrade (FSU) project.

The warship has been transferred to the Lockheed Martin Canada and Seaspan Victoria Shipyards in Victoria, British Columbia, to undergo upgrade and modernisation works as part of the initiative.

Lockheed Martin Canada Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) acting vice-president and general manager Gary Fudge said: “For the past four years, Lockheed Martin Canada’s Combat System Integration team has been preparing for this day by designing, integrating and testing the Combat System, as well as the ship platform design changes for HMNZ Ships Te Kaha and Te Mana next year.

“The warship has been transferred to the Lockheed Martin Canada and Seaspan Victoria Shipyards in Victoria, British Columbia, to undergo upgrade and modernisation works.”

“Installation of an advanced combat system will ensure New Zealand has a credible maritime combat capability.”

HMNZS Te Kaha initially arrived in Canada on 6 March, where it was shifted to the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) Fleet Maintenance Facility (FMF) Cape Breton for de-storing of equipment and preservation of ship systems in preparation for the handover and beginning of the industrial upgrade programme.

Lockheed Martin Canada is operating as the prime systems integrator for the project, while also being responsible for designing and delivering the modernised combat system for each Anzac-class frigate.

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In addition, the company will supply a new combat management system based on its Combat Management System 330 under the deal, as well as deliver and integrate a missile system, combat systems trainer and a wide range of sensors.

The original contract for the FSU refit programme was signed in 2014 for a sum of NZD491m.

New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark announced in December 2017 that the project had experienced a cost overrun of approximately 30% of the initial budget.

The total expected cost was raised to NZD639m ($453m) following the signing of the revised contract.

HMNZS Te Kaha was originally delivered to the New Zealand Ministry of Defence and commissioned into the RNZN on 22 July 1997.

The vessel is a purpose-built warship and was navy’s first Anzac-class frigate.

It was built in accordance with the German MEKO 200 design and primarily conducts maritime security patrols and surveillance operations in order to protect the country’s sea lines of communication and trade routes.