Modernisation contracts to upgrade systems on two New Zealand Navy frigates, HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana, have begun, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp has said.

“The ANZAC platform systems upgrade (PSU) contracts will allow the navy to leverage off the technology developments that have been made over the past 20 years,” Mapp added.

The modernisation contract will include upgrading the management systems, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems on the ships.

The upgraded systems would provide improved control and monitoring and more automation, and will also reduce the need for technical manpower.

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Work on the contracts would be performed in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Germany.

The second phase of the $58m internal makeover contract was awarded to Siemens, Noske-Kaiser, Australian Marine Technologies and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

The ANZAC frigates are the mainstay of the navy’s combat force and are armed with a 5in gun, torpedoes, air defence missiles and close-in weapons systems for self defence.