The Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Mana and her 170 members of crew arrived in Waitemata Harbour today for a ceremonial homecoming after spending more than three years in Canada undergoing a significant systems upgrade. Minister of Defense Peeni Henare was on board.
“The Government is committed to ensuring that the New Zealand Defence Force have the assets and equipment they need to continue the incredible work they do on behalf of New Zealand, which is why we have committed approximately $4.5 billion to 12 major defence capability projects since taking office, including a $148 million funding boost for the Frigate Systems Upgrade work programme,” Peeni Henare said.
“Whether it is disaster relief in the Pacific, peace keeping operations around the globe, or securing our oceans and those of our neighbours, the Defence Force make New Zealanders proud, and our frigates – one of the Defence Force’s most flexible assets – are a key contributor to that work.
“Today, Te Mana returns home following extensive work for the Frigate Systems Upgrade. The upgrades future-proof the frigates’ 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 until they are retired in the mid-2030s,” Peeni Henare said.
The Ministry of Defense commissioned Lockheed Martin Canada to carry out the complex Frigate Systems Upgrade project. Lockheed Martin Canada provided new radars, electronic detection and other above-water systems, the self-defence missile system, decoys against missiles and torpedoes, an upgrade to the hull-mounted sonar, and the combat management system that integrates these upgrades.
The contractor started the project’s installation phase on HMNZS Te Kaha in May 2018 after removing old systems. Work on HMNZS Te Mana started in May 2019 and continued during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Te Mana has been away for a long time, and has just sailed over 12,000 km to get home, and you can tell the ship’s company can’t wait to see Aotearoa,” Peeni Henare said.
“But they’re also very proud of their ship, which will make a significant contribution to Royal New Zealand Navy operations, and while on deployment with multinational task groups.
“The frigate will now undertake a series of trials, tests and exercises, to progressively release the ship’s operational capabilities,” Peeni Henare said.