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DSEI 2021: SEA wins communications system upgrade for RNZN ANZAC frigates

HMNZS Te Kaha on post-refit trials. Te Kaha and sister ship HMNZS Te Mana are to receive a major communications upgrade. (RNZN)

SEA, a subsidiary of the UK-based technology group Cohort, has been contracted by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence as prime integrator for the first phase of a communications upgrade on the Royal New Zealand Navy's (RNZN's) two MEKO 200ANZ ANZAC frigates.

Valued at GBP4.6 million (USD6.3 million), this initial contract increment covers the design of the communication system to be implemented on HMNZS Te Kaha and HMNZS Te Mana under the Frigate Sustainment Phase 1 (FSP1) – Communications Project. The contract represents first of the two planned project phases, which will deliver new capability from 2024.

Last month, the New Zealand government approved the NZD21.2 million external communications upgrade, which covers the introduction of a new communications control system, and modern radios for data and voice communication. The upgrade is designed to ensure the ships can handle the increasing volume of data generated by modern communications systems, and operate with other New Zealand Defence Force capabilities and coalition partners.

SEA's upgrade implementation will introduce a new open architecture external communication solution intended to reduce through life costs and associated maintenance. β€œThe flexible, modular system will enable the navy to integrate equipment, including cryptos and radios, regardless of the manufacturer or supplier,” said the company in a statement. β€œThe open architecture of the system will also meet interoperability requirements and allow the Royal New Zealand Navy to communicate with partner navies, which will support missions with friendly countries such as neighbouring Australia,” it added.

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