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the frigates for tasks further afield.
Four 340-tonne inshore patrol vessels (IPV ) are key platforms for
the navy to fulfil multi-agency operations and tasks (MAO&T ), for
which operational release is pending. HMNZS Hawea (P3567), Pukaki
(P3568), Rotoiti (P3569) and Taupo (P3570) were built in Whangarei
by BAE Systems Australia. The 55m-long IPVs are designed to patrol
the country’s 12-nautical-mile exclusion limit. Their multiple tasks
may include the interception and
boarding of yachts for Customs, or
local and foreign fishing vessels for the
Ministry of Fisheries. In essence, the
navy is providing platforms from which
other government departments with
responsibilities in the maritime domain
can manage their jurisdictions. The IPVs
perform coastal patrols with various
government agency personnel onboard,
the advantage being that these agencies
rather than the RNZN are responsible
for any prosecutions. Therefore, navy
captains and ships are not tied up in
lengthy court proceedings. An IPV will
typically deploy on a five-day patrol and
then spend a three-day weekend in the
nearest harbour. Each IPV is supposed
to achieve a 290-day availability level
for sea patrols. The Ministry of Fisheries
has already reported changes in fishing-
fleet operations because of the navy’s
increased patrolling capacity. The law
enforcement role of the IPVs is confirmed by their scant armament - a
single .50 -cal machine gun.
Like the Canterbury, the OPVs and IPVs have not been immune to
defects. For example, the OPVs have had issues with main engine coolant
sealing components, cranes, and high noise levels in some compartments.
Furthermore, the OPVs were delivered 300 tonnes overweight with a
service life margin below that of contractual obligations. This means
future upgrades to the hull, armaments or sensors that add more weight
to the vessels could negate the vessels’ ice belt. Operational release for
flight operations and Special Forces boat usage remain outstanding.
Under the remediation agreement, BAE Systems is replacing all 14 RHIBs
on Project Protector vessels.
The two Anzac-class frigates - HMNZS Te Mana (F111) and Te Kaha
(F77) – form the backbone of the navy’s combat fleet. Introduced in the
late 1990s, these ships have a projected lifespan of 30 years. In fact they
are the NZDF’s most expensive assets, accounting for more than half
the navy’s budget at NZD408 million. Phase I of the Frigate Platform
Systems Upgrade (PSU) provided two new MTU 12V1163 TB93 diesel
engines (with a combined output of 8,800kW) and uprated gearbox,
stability management enhancement (using injected slurry as ballast)
and compartment changes (partially enclosing the quarterdeck) with
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Australia serving as design authority.
Greater speed from the new diesels means the gas turbines are used less,
with a corresponding increase in range and improved economy rate.
Phase I has been completed on both ships.
Phase II of the PSU covers the frigates’ Integrated Platform Management
System (IPMS). Siemens (NZ) Ltd will improve engine monitoring and
automation, while Noske-Kaesar NZ Ltd will enhance the heating,
ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. Work is being carried
out in NZ, Australia, Canada and Germany, with this phase commencing
on Te Mana in early 2012. The total PSU programme will eventually
amount to some 115,000 man-hours. A dry dock managed on behalf
of the RNZN by Babcock New Zealand Ltd, and situated within the
Devonport Naval Base, is used for maintenance work on RNZN ships via
a strategic partnering relationship.
A Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) is the frigates’ last line of self-
defence against anti-ship missiles, fast inshore attack craft and strike
aircraft. In November 2007, a NZ$25 million contract was signed with
Raytheon to upgrade the Phalanx CIWS to Block 1B configuration. The
CIWS on Te Mana has been upgraded and accepted, while Te Kaha will
undergo acceptance testing in the latter part of 2011. A combat systems
upgrade is also imminent under the Frigate Systems Upgrade project.
Thales New Zealand is lead contractor for the programme expected to be
approved in early 2012, and it will include improvements to the combat
management system, and new electro-optic sensor and radar capabilities.
Another important future project is a torpedo replacement for use on the
frigates, P-3K Orion aircraft and Kaman SH-2G Seasprite helicopters.
The navy operates Seasprite helicopters from the two frigates, and
these are due for either midlife upgrades or replacement. The first
helicopter was delivered in 2001 with an expected 25-year lifespan.
The five helicopters belong to No.6 Squadron based at Whenuapai near
Auckland, this RNZAF formation being responsible for the maintenance
of naval aviation. Seasprites can also operate from the two OPVs and the
There are four inshore patrol vessels used for coastal patrol and law
enforcement. This is the newest one, HMNZS Taupo. (Gordon Arthur)
HMNZS Canterbury has drawn severe
criticism for its level of seaworthiness
in higher sea states, including excessive
pitching that has caused the propellers to
exit the water
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