The Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) Anzac-class frigate HMNZS Te Kaha has started sea trials in Canada following a refit period.

RNZN said in a tweet: “Back to sea. #HMNZSTeKaha sailing past the historic Fisgard Lighthouse as she commences the first of her intensive sea trials off Canada’s West Coast.

“A welcome return to sea after a period at CFB Esquimalt where she’s been undertaking a significant systems upgrade.”

In March 2018, Lockheed Martin announced that HMNZS Te Kaha arrived in Canada to begin the shipyard industrial refit phase of the Anzac Frigate Systems Upgrade (FSU) project.

Lockheed Martin Canada (LMC) is the Combat Systems Integrator (CSI) for each Anzac-class frigate.

As per a sub-contractual agreement, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards is responsible for the refit and installation of the new systems under the supervision and direction of LMC.

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Refit work on HMNZS Te Kaha started on 1 May 2018 in Victoria, Canada.

The upgrade programme was carried out in equipment purchase, detailed design and installation phases.

In 2014, the New Zealand Government signed a contract for the upgrade of the RNZN’s two Anzac-lass frigates and approved a sum of NZ$446m for the project.

In December 2017, the government approved an additional NZ$148m to the initial budget to accommodate the cost overrun for combat system equipment installation.

Refit of the second frigate, HMNZS Te Mana, started on 1 May 2019.

The entire contract for the refit programme covering the two frigates has an expected completion date of 2020.

In July this year, the RNZN’s new HMNZS Aotearoa was commissioned at Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.