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BAE delivers capability upgrade for frigate

hmas arunta amcap mast raising
BAE has delivered key capability upgrades for the HMAS Arunta at the BAE facility in Henderson, WA (Source Supplied)

A new mast has been installed on Royal Australian Navy Anzac Class frigate HMAS Arunta as part of the ship’s Midlife Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP).

The upgrade took place at BAE Systems Australia's Henderson facility, and is one of the final planned works on the ship ahead of a planned return to service in 2019.

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The replacement mast is both taller and wider than the existing mast, and will be able to accommodate the new CEA L-Band Radar System, as well as retaining the existing anti-ship missile defence radar capability.

BAE Systems chief executive Gabby Costigan said, "Our maritime sustainment team at Henderson and Williamstown (Victoria) has established and maintained an important maritime engineering and program management capability through the sustainment of the Anzac fleet over more than two decades through an alliance arrangement."

The new L-band radar capability will be integrated into the existing SAAB Australia combat management systems (CMS).

Additionally, the control and monitoring system of the ship has also received a technological refresh, replacing existing analogue technology with digital. This is the first time that such a technology refresh has been undertaken on such a large scale on the Anzac Class ships.

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Integration of the communications system into the existing ship' data communications systems has been closely managed during design by Melbourne-based defence communications company Leonardo.

HMAS Arunta has received a number of upgrades since arriving at Henderson in September 2017, including:

  • Upgraded ventilation systems;
  • New sewage systems;
  • Improvements to the CMS;
  • Engine modifications to improve power and efficiency; and
  • A new communications suite.

"That capability is critical in ensuring that despite the enormous complexity of such work, the project achieves quality, cost and schedule milestones," Costigan said. 

Arunta's sister ships, HMA Ships Anzac and Perth, are also undergoing AMCAP upgrades at BAE Systems' Henderson Facility. The Anzac Class is based on the German MEKO 200 frigate design with eight ships constructed in Australia for the RAN.

The upgrades are being performed by the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) Alliance and will include the replacement of the long-range air search radar, IFF (identification, friend or foe) and secondary surveillance radar capabilities.

HMAS Anzac will also undergo a platform systems obsolescence program to improve platform reliability and maintainability. Work will also be done to improve the ship’s habitability for the crew. Also, an upgrade to the ship’s communications systems will resolve a number of obsolescence issues.

The Anzac Class is a long-range frigate capable of air defence, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. Combat capabilities have been significantly improved under under the Anti-Ship Missile Defence upgrade program, which provides an enhanced sensor and weapons systems capability. 

The upgrade showcases Australian design and integration capability, with new Phased Array Radar technology designed by CEA Technologies in Canberra, upgrades to combat systems performed by Saab Systems in South Australia, and platform integration design by BAE Systems in Victoria.

BAE delivers capability upgrade for frigate
HMAS-Arunta-AMCAP-Mast-raising.JPG
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