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.
The warship’s crew is set to start trials of its state-of-the-art systems and modifications.
Commander Surface Forces Commodore Christopher Smith said the overhaul by BAE Systems Australia had enabled the 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 said.
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.
HMAS Stuart commanding officer Chris Leece said his crew was 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 Perth, Arunta, Anzac, Warramunga, Ballarat, Parramatta and Toowoomba have all cycled through the program with crews transferring between ingoing and outgoing platforms.
BAE Systems Australia chief executive officer Glynn Phillips said the fleet upgrade would provide sustained protection against anti-ship missile attack, which was an essential element of Australia’s maritime capability.
“I am delighted that by working very closely with the RAN, the team has delivered this incredibly complex project ahead of schedule,” Mr Phillips said.
“As well as the capability of our workforce, we relied on a healthy and vibrant ship building industry to deliver this critical program to the navy.’
BAE Systems has now started preparing HMAS Perth for initial work as part of her Anzac Midlife Capability upgrade.
The $2 billion, six-year AMCAP program includes upgrades to engines, propulsion, lighting, heating, cooling and communications systems, torpedo self-defence and Nulka enhancements.