New Zealand has posted three of its sub-lieutenants to complete their training as assistant maritime engineers on board three Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ANZAC frigates respectively.

Following their training at Australia’s Cerebus naval base, on the Mornington peninsula just south of Melbourne, the three Kiwi officers will now go on to learn the ropes on board HMAS Warranmunga Stuart and Perth.

One sub-lieutenant stated that their participation on board RAN ships will help them “learn from the way that RAN operates,” which he said will be “an experience that I will be able to take back to New Zealand and share.

“It is an incredible opportunity to work alongside New Zealand’s closest ally and ‘bigger brother’.”

These three warships are the second, third and seventh vessels to join RAN’s eight-strong ANZAC-class. The Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) initially prcured four of these frigates between 1996 and 2006, although New Zealand’s fleet was reduced to two.

The 3,600 tonne frigates were built at Tenix’s Williamstown yard in Victoria, Australia. The design is based on the Meko 200 modular design which utilises a basic hull and construction concept to provide flexibility in the choice of command and control, weapons, equipment and sensors.

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In March 2003, the first of the class, HMAS Anzac, was deployed in support of coalition forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Two of New Zealand’s frigates were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom thereafter.

In February 2010, a major upgrade to the RNZN frigate Te Kaha was completed. In December, the Te Mana returned to service after a seven-month refit programme. Both frigates were fitted with new diesel engines for improved performance and reduced fuel costs.

Recently, a contract was awarded to the British supplier, Systems Engineering and Assessment, in September 2023 to install a modern communications system in the RNZN’s two ANZAC frigates.