The New Zealand Government has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Canada to upgrade the Royal New Zealand Navy's (RAN) two ANZAC-class frigates.
Valued at more than NZD$180m ($164m), the four-year contract represents the first export sale of the company's combat management system (CMS), which was designed as a modern, affordable solution for the international market.
Lockheed is expected to collaborate with several Canadian companies and Saab Sweden.
Under the agreement, Lockheed will design, install and integrate the CMS and combat system trainer at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland, and also acquire new sensor and weapon systems for the HMNZ Te Mana and HMNZ Te Kaha.
New Zealand Ministry of Defence acquisitions deputy secretary Des Ashton said the frigate systems upgrade (FSU) project will address the government's aim of restoring the frigate's surveillance, combat and self-defence capabilities to match contemporary threats.
"The project will provide the ships with excellent systems that will enable them to perform their expected tasks through to the end of their [service] life in the 2030s," Ashton said.
"We consider that Lockheed Martin's significant experience from the Canadian Navy's HALIFAX modernisation programme will be an important de-risking factor in our FSU project."
Lockheed Martin Canada president Rosemary Chapdelaine said: "This key export of Canadian-designed technology not only reinforces Lockheed Martin's position as a world leader in naval combat systems integration, but further demonstrates our ability to successfully leverage purchases and investments in high-technology defence products to create jobs and economic growth in Canada."
The upgrade is expected to bring significant work to the company's facilities in Dartmouth, Kanata and Montreal and the SEASPAN shipyard in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, if the New Zealand Ministry of Defence (NZMoD) agrees to undertake the installation work package provided in the contract.
The CMS is a commercial variant of systems developed for the Royal Canadian Navy and uses an open architecture concept, which enables maximum flexibility to users to incorporate individual sub-systems and components.
Image: The Royal New Zealand Navy's ANZAC-class frigate HMNZS Te Mana leaving Dunedin harbour, New Zealand. Photo: courtesy of Benchill.