The New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha has entered into service complete with two new diesel engines following a major refit.

The 13-year-old Anzac Class frigate has been out of service since July 2009 for planned maintenance and a mid-life engine upgrade.

Te Kaha will now leave for its next deployment to South East Asia in April, but without its Phalanx weapons system, according to

The frigate’s 20mm rapid-fire machine gun is undergoing an upgrade to protect the ship against fast inshore attack boats and helicopters.

The officer in charge of the engine upgrade Lieutenant Commander Chris Fleck said Te Kaha would be on a diplomatic and training mission in South East Asia and not on operational duties.

Fleck said the new engines would be more economical, but would not allow the ship to go faster than its top speed of 27kt.

The new engines would go to 21.5kt before gas turbines took over, making the ships more economical to operate, while the old engines could push each ship only to 18kt before a gas turbine kicked in for high-speed running.