End in sight for frigate upgrade program

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), CPOIS Damian Pawlenko (photographer)

Location(s): Henderson, Western Australia

Topic(s): Frigate Helicopter (FFH)

Group photograph of the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) Project personnel, comprising of Royal Australian Navy, Australian Public Service, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) - ANZAC Systems Project Office (SPO), BAE Systems, Saab Systems, CEA Technologies, Penske Power Systems and a multitude of sub-contractors, at the BAE Systems Australia Henderson Dockyard, Western Australia, with HMAS Toowoomba and HMAS Stuart in the background. (photo: CPOIS Damian Pawlenko)
Group photograph of the Anti-Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) Project personnel, comprising of Royal Australian Navy, Australian Public Service, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) - ANZAC Systems Project Office (SPO), BAE Systems, Saab Systems, CEA Technologies, Penske Power Systems and a multitude of sub-contractors, at the BAE Systems Australia Henderson Dockyard, Western Australia, with HMAS Toowoomba and HMAS Stuart in the background.

The Anzac class frigate Anti Ship Missile Defence (ASMD) upgrade program has reached a milestone at the BAE Systems Shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia recently.

Navy personnel joined counterparts from the Australian Public Service, BAE Systems, CEA Technologies, SAAB Systems and a number of other organisations on 2 September to witness the final time two Anzac Class frigates would be in dry dock together.

Surface Combatant Group Capability Manager Representative Captain Michael Turner said with HMAS Toowoomba due to undock on 13 September and Stuart deep into her upgrade, the end of the ASMD program was now in sight.

“It’s important for us to pause and acknowledge both the significant achievements made by the people here today, and those who couldn’t be here, to deliver these world-leading upgraded frigates and also the incredible reach this project has in terms of the people required to deliver it,” Captain Turner said.

“Each ship docks for approximately 12 months to facilitate the significant structural work required to install the new mast to support the Phased Array Radar system, a coating of the new haze grey livery and other docking dependant tasks."

“This is followed by several months alongside conducting harbour acceptance trials and system work, and culminates in a month-long sea trial period before the ship is formally returned to full Royal Australian Navy service.”

ASMD Program Delivery Manager, Lieutenant Commander Felicity Petrie, has been involved with the program since 2014 and said she was proud to see what had been delivered in that time.

“It’s impressive to take in the sheer number of personnel here today and to understand that this is not everyone who has a hand in the delivery of this cutting edge technology to Navy,” Lieutenant Commander Petrie said.

“This program has had an enormous positive impact on local industry and on Navy capability.”

Each docking and upgrade is a complex operation managed by an Integrated Project Team comprising Navy and contract personnel responsible for project and engineering management.”

This ranges from various maintenance jobs to trade work, painting, cleaning, safety and security tasks.

“In the background, hundreds more people have ‘touched’ the project in design, contracting and other aspects – it’s estimated that more than half a million hours of work are expended on each ship as it progresses through the upgrade,” Lieutenant Commander Petrie said.

Work started on the first upgrade in 2010 when HMAS Perth went through the ASMD program.

Over the next six years, the entire fleet of Anzac Class frigates took their turn on the Henderson hardstand with Stuart due to be delivered back to Navy in late 2017.

Lieutenant Commander Petrie said the upgraded capabilities of Navy’s Anzac Class frigates have been on display in various parts of the world over the past few years.

“As well as performing operational duties in the Middle East, upgraded frigates have deployed all over the globe,” she said.

“HMAS Anzac proceeded on a world deployment in 2015, culminating in participation in the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing in Turkey, while both Warramunga and Ballarat recently completed successful deployments as part of Exercise RIMPAC.”

Stuart’s
delivery back into Navy service will conclude one of the most significant upgrade programs ever undertaken by the Royal Australian Navy.