HMAS Stu­art back and bat­tle-ready

Weekend Courier - - Street Watch -

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 told the Navy Daily web­site.

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. HMAS Stu­art at the Hen­der­son ship­yard on com­ple­tion of its up­grade.

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