Upgrades complete for Anzac class

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Felicity Petrie (author), CPOIS Damian Pawlenko (photographer), LSIS Lee-Anne Cooper (photographer)

Topic(s): MH-60R Seahawk, Frigate Helicopter (FFH), HMAS Stuart (F153)

HMAS Stuart during undocking at BAE Henderson Dockyard after completing the Anti-ship Missile Defence Upgrade. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Cooper)
HMAS Stuart during undocking at BAE Henderson Dockyard after completing the Anti-ship Missile Defence Upgrade.

The last Royal Australian Navy Anzac class frigate to receive anti-ship missile defence upgrades is back in the water, with HMAS Stuart undocking at the Henderson shipyard in Western Australia.
She will now commence trials of her state-of-the-art systems and modifications.

Commander Surface Forces Commodore Christopher Smith said the overhaul had enabled the helicopter frigates to continue to protect Australia and its interests.

“The entire Anzac class is now one of the most capable frigate forces in the world and is tangible evidence of Navy’s progress towards deploying highly capable task groups,” Commodore Smith.

The upgrade includes the installation of an improved combat system and the Australian designed CEAFAR Active Phased Array Radar suite.

Platform modifications mean the frigate is also able to embark an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, Navy’s submarine hunter.

Stuart will undergo several months of harbour acceptance trials to test the upgraded systems while ship’s company reconstitutes the platform.

Commanding Officer Stuart, Commander Chris Leece, said his crew were looking forward to getting back to sea.

“This marks the moment where we can now begin to reclaim our ship and prepare for the challenging year ahead,” Commander Leece said.

HMA Ships PerthAruntaAnzacWarramungaBallaratParramatta, and Toowoomba have all cycled through the program with crews transferring between ingoing and outgoing platforms.

Toowoomba recently completed harbour acceptance trials and is at sea undergoing a mariner skills evaluation and sea acceptance trials.

Stuart is expected to complete the upgrade process by late 2017, representing full delivery of the project to Navy.

The program has been the result of strong collaboration between Defence and insustry, managed by the Anzac System Program Office - Warship Asset

Management Agreement, with an alliance involving the Commonwealth, BAE Systems, NSM and Saab.

Sub-contractors and local industry also provided maintenance and other activities on the helicopter frigates during the upgrade program.

Anzac Program Office Director, Captain Rachel Durbin, said delivery of a fully upgraded Stuart was on schedule.

“We have undocked the final ship out of upgrade and we expect to deliver on time to Navy in accordance with our original material acquisition agreement dates," she said.

"Delivery of the upgrade has been a step change in capability to the fleet - a massive achievement and one which the all should be very proud."

The project represents a significant upgrade to the capability of the Anzac class ships, and is one of the major projects currently under delivery within the Fleet.