Te Mana’s next stop is San Diego, where she will put her upgraded systems to the test.
The Frigate Systems Upgrade (FSU) integrates a range of new systems aboard New Zealand’s two Anzac class frigates to “maintain” the frigates at an acceptable standard. Initially, $446 million NZD was budgeted to upgrade both ships, though the actual cost has blown out to $700 million. Te Mana’s sistership, HMNZS Te Kaha, completed an identical overhaul in late 2020 and returned to New Zealand in time for the new year.
“The upgrade has been designed to maintain the frigates’ surveillance, self-defence, and combat systems to a standard comparable to the frigates used by Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, allowing them to continue to operate in a full range of roles.”
New Zealand Ministry of Defence
The upgrade consists of a new primary surface surveillance radar, the Thales SMART-S MK2, CAMM missiles and a variety of new electronics. The frigates’ have also been outfitted with Rhienmentalls Multi Ammunition Softkill System (MASS), Link 16 compatibility and an improved hull-mounted sonar. The entire package is integrated with the ship’s new combat management system, the CMS 330, developed by Lockheed Martin Canada.
The completion of upgrades aboard Te Mana means that, after years of delays and cost overruns, New Zealand finally has its two main surface combatants back in service. New Zealand’s Anzac’s are expected to serve into the 2030s, before they’re replaced by new frigates. In the shorter term, the vessel’s embarked SH-2G Super Seasprites are on their last legs, and the process to replace them has already begun.