Navy firms its thinking about frigate replacements

Naval opinion is firming on the next class of frigate to replace the RNZN’s two Anzac Class frigates Te Kaha and Te Mana which are scheduled to be retired within 10 years under the Defence Capability plans.

Both ships are ageing and, according to experienced officers, have had to be driven hard – notably in the Gulf – with only two frigates in the fleet.

A decade ago a National Govt declined to order a third.

Attention is focusing on the BAE Systems Maritime Type 26 ordered for the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy (which will build theirs in South Australia) and now the Royal Canadian Navy, which has awarded Lockheed Martin Canada a contract to develop a 15-strong frigate fleet based on the Type 26.

Early reports indicate the Type 26 fits RNZN’s specifications “like a glove”, a naval architect tells our correspondent.  It will be powered by a Rolls Royce marine gas turbine based on the RR Trent 900 which powers the Boeing 777 and two electric motors.

This will give it a speed in excess of 48 kph and a range of around 13,000 km.  It will have a 5in gun, missiles, a hangar deck and a flight deck strong enough to handle the RNZAF’s NH90 helicopters and a crew of around 120 according to task. The first are due in RN service in 2026.

Both Anzacs are undergoing major upgrades and refits with Lockheed Martin Canada and other contractors. The first, a $394m project, provides a new combat Management System, the supply and integration of various sensors, missile system and a Combat System Trainer for the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.

The Combat Management System and many of the sensors are the same as those being provided for the upgrade of the 12 Royal Canadian Navy Halifax Class frigates which was undertaken by LMC.

The second, at $65.4m, upgrades the platform systems including the control and monitoring system, overall weight and stability management, the propulsion system, and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

5 thoughts on “Navy firms its thinking about frigate replacements

  1. I don’t think this Ship will pass the pub test in NZ, as it comes with a Rolls Royce price tag, not including the extra 25 to 50 % premium if they buy it from Australia Shipyard. It’s too bespoke for NZ needs and too high end. where as a “General Purpose” Frigate will suit NZ needs such as the Arrowhead 140 which is more middle of road. Which to me ticks all the boxes from Chap7 to HADR Missions and has proved to be a very hardy/ capable Ship as the Danes have operated their Ships from 50-60deg’s Nth to Sth of the equator which is very similar to how the RNZN operates its Ships in reverse to the Danes.

    Probably the only 3 others ship worthy is the Joint French/ Italian Frigate, the German Frigate (can’t recall its name atm) or the one out Sth Korea and again I can’t recall what version or name of the Frigate.


    1. Agreed. The Type 26 is eye-wateringly expensive. Australia is currently budgeting 4.1 billion NZD per ship, and the true cost will be even higher (as it always is). As a large chunk of that cost is the hidden subsidy to Australian shipbuilding, we could probably negotiate a lower price for a pair of lower-specced 26’s, but even so I believe it’s far too much money. I dare to hope that the Type 31 will succeed. Even if the T31 cost doubles and it hits 1B NZD per ship it looks like a lot of ship for the money. Militaries always end up paying extra for costs where the competition is less (ie ship construction) so I would push for three Type 31’s as close to RN-standard as we can get away with, then upgrade later on (where there is more choice of provider) to our specific needs. If the Type 31 proves to be a false hope, then the South Korean Daegu looks interesting, if it has the seakeeping we require.


      1. If they get the license to build the Type 31 in a Sth Korean Shipyard, like they with the new MSS or whatever it’s called as that was British design ship that came without the pommy price tag then all the good as we could very get 3-4 or possibly 5 Frigates at a reasonable cost and all the various missions pods that come with those Danish Naval Ship would be a bonus especially in the context of what happened with CC events.

        The Danish Ships are quite flexible and have the “Utility of Force” which are now required for a small modern Navy such as the RNZN.


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