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FFH 150 Anzac

The Anzac Class is based on the German Meko 200 frigate design with eight ships being constructed in Australia as part of the overall plan to upgrade the Royal Australian Navy. The Prime Contract between the Commonwealth and AMECON (now Tenix Defence) Pty Ltd was signed on 10 November 1989, in which Tenix offered the German MEKO 200 Design and it was then modified by Australia and New Zealand to reflect the role of the ship. The current ANZAC design provides sufficient capability to undertake these roles.

The MEKO concept uses modular construction techniques. The advantage of the concept is the parallel production of the hull and superstructure and its equipment. The ships are assembled from 12 major modules built at 3 sites including Newcastle and New Zealand and shipped to Williamstown, Victoria for final assembly and launch. These modules are of substantial size but are small enough to be worked on undercover, minimising the effects of weather and allowing installation of equipment before the ends or tops need to be fitted. A great deal of the ship's equipment is containerised or palletised and installed as modules reach the appropriate stage. This containerisation principle allows for integration and testing of functional units before fitting to the ship. The resulting partially outfitted modules can be easily erected on the slipway. The level of outfitting at launch is higher than can be achieved using traditional shipbuilding methods.

The ANZAC Ship Contract requires an Industry Program in Australia and New Zealand equivalent to 80% of the contract price consisting of 73% Australia New Zealand content and 7% Defence Offsets. In addition to ship construction work, the Australia and New Zealand content includes a substantial proportion of systems and equipment, either manufactured under licence or of indigenous design.

The last of the frigates, HMAS Perth, was commissioned on 26 August 2006. She represents the completion of an ambitious 10-ship build (ships two and four were delivered to the Royal New Zealand Navy) and the largest warship build project ever undertaken in Australia. The $7 billion dollar Anzac ship project has involved more than 3,000 companies in Australia and New Zealand, and has generated almost 8,000 jobs. Five Anzac frigates are home ported at HMAS Stirling in the West, and three are home ported in Sydney on the East.

The Royal Australian Navy [RAN] utilises its Anzac class frigates at the extreme end of the operational envelope. To illustrate, on average the Anzac frigates were away from their home port 192 days over the last year. This high usage rate and operational tempo create many unique challenges for the RAN, notably in sustainment of capability and in retention of personnel.

Anzacs are long-range escorts with roles including air defence, anti submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. The ships are capable of countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and sub-surface. Powered by a combined diesel or gas (CODOG) propulsion plant permits speeds in excess of 27 knots with an operational range of more than 6000 nautical miles.

The ships' main armament comprises one five inch (127 mm) gun capable of firing 20 rounds per minute, ship launched torpedo and a MK 41 vertical launch system for the Sea Sparrow point defence missile. The Anzac Class can embark a multi-role Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter to enhance anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and Search and Rescue capabilities. Embarkation of a helicopter also provides the ship with the capability to deliver air-launched torpedoes.

Each Anzac frigate is fitted with an advanced package of air surveillance radars, omni-directional hull mounted sonar and electronic support systems which interface with a state-of-the-art combat data system. The Anzacs weren't designed for a hostile environment and at present can only engage one target at a time because their current illuminator, with its traditional dish-type antenna, can only point in one direction at a time.

In July 2001 Defence signed a long term alliance agreement with Tenix Defence and SAAB Systems covering the development of all future capability change packages for the ANZAC Class. The ANZAC Ship Alliance has established a management office in Rockingham, WA.

The Evolved SEASPARROW Missile (ESSM) program is an international cooperative venture by ten of the twelve nations of the NATO SEASPARROW Consortium to develop and produce an improved version of the RIM-7P NATO SEASPARROW Missile. The ESSM will have enhanced speed and maneuverability compared to the baseline NATO SEASPARROW, and will feature quad pack canisters in the 8-cell Mk 41 Vertical Launching System. The aim of the program is to develop an effective defence against the next generation of high-speed, maneuvering anti-ship missiles. Australia's involvement in the international ESSM program is being managed through Project SEA 1428, which managed Australia's participation in the development and production phases of the program, and the provision of the ESSM capability into the ANZAC and FFG classes of ship currently operated by the Royal Australian Navy.

SEA 1348 Ph3 - ANZAC Ship Project Underwater & Surface War Fighting Upgrade Program of the ANZAC Ship Project covers improvements to the Anti Surface Warfare and Anti Submarine Warfare capabilities of the eight ANZAC Class ships operated by the RAN. The enhancements include the fitting of Harpoon Missile Launch Capability, and introduction of a Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar (MOAS).

Under Phase 3A each ANZAC frigate is to be fitted with Harpoon missile launchers, and the system integrated into the ship's combat system. Canisters were procured from the USA, and the launchers and associated ship system and platform upgrade packages were integrated into the ships by a commercial arrangement under the ANZAC Ship Integrated Maintenance Support Program Alliance (ASIPA). The initial ship installation into HMAS WARRAMUNGA was completed in December 2004. To date seven of the eight ANZAC Class ships have either been fitted, or are in the process of being fitted, with this capability. The final ship was HMAS PERTH due for completion in September 2008. Phase 3A did not include missile procurement.

Phase 3B - Torpedo Self Defence was withdrawn from the DCP in Nov 03.

The ANZAC frigates had limited mechanisms to warn of mines or other obstacles in the ship's path other than the standard sonar system. SEA 1348 Phase 3C Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar installs the Thales "Petrel" Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar (MOAS). This involves the installation of a retractable sonar array and associated monitoring, control and support equipment. Installation and integration of MOAS into the ANZAC Ship is being managed under the ANZAC Ship Integrated Maintenance Support Program Alliance (ASIPA). Installation was completed into HMAS ARUNTA in September 2005. To date seven of the eight ANZAC Class ships have either been fitted, or are in the process of being fitted, with this capability. The final ship wwas HMAS PERTH due for completion in September 2008.

In early 2010 work started in Western Australia to refit the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ANZAC-class frigate HMAS Perth with an extensive package of combat system upgrades designed to significantly enhance its anti-ship missile defence (ASMD) capability under Project SEA 1448 Phase 2. On completion of the refit, Perth will be used to de-risk and prove the ASMD upgrade ahead of retrofit to the RAN's seven other ANZAC-class ships.

Project SEA 1448 Phase 2 embraces a series of improvements to the ANZAC frigate combat system designed to provide the frigates with enhanced platform survivability against medium and emerging high-end missile threats. These comprise the upgrade of the existing Saab Systems 9LV combat management system to 9LV Mk3E standard; the introduction of the Sagem Vampir NG infrared search and track system; and a new radar suite featuring the CEA Technologies' CEAFAR E/F-band active phased array surveillance radar - replacing the legacy Sea Giraffe target indication radar - and associated CEAMOUNT I/J-band illuminator (providing multi-channel mid-course guidance and illumination for the Raytheon RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile).

The complete ASMD system has already undergone extensive trials at the ANZAC Class System Support Facility at HMAS Stirling. Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) reports that the upgraded combat suite successfully completed land-based system integration testing in December 2009.

Perth started its ASMD upgrade installation in January 2010 at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) at Henderson, Western Australia. Installation activities will continue through to October 2010, with harbour and sea testing then following through to April 2011. The DMO adds: "The project will deliver an initial in-service operational capability by mid-2011 followed by an extended operational evaluation period of 12 months."

The new main mast will accommodate both the CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT phased arrays in an integrated enclosure. Canberra electronics firm CEA Technologies has been working for nearly 20 years on the solid-state Phased Array Radar system for the CEAFAR radar, and its smaller CEAMOUNT stablemate. In the Anzac frigate Anti-Ship Missile Defence Project, Sea 1448, both radars will be installed atop a new, lightweight radar mast aboard HMAS Perth.

The CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT use technology similar to the Aegis SPY-1D (V)3 radar on the Navy's new Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers, but are much lighter. The six-face CEAFAR radar will detect and track incoming aircraft and antiship missiles. The four-face CEAMOUNT radar is an illuminator -- its radar energy will bounce off the incoming target to guide the ship's Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile all the way to impact.

As well as being extremely accurate, this combination allows the ship to deal with multiple incoming missiles at once. How many? That's classified, but Defence says it can handle enough to cope with foreseeable threats right out to the retirement of the Anzac frigates in about 2033.

The PAR technology means CEAMOUNT's beam can skip backwards and forwards instantaneously between multiple targets to provide continuous guidance for several ESSMs going in different directions. Achieving this performance in such a small package has put CEA Technologies at the leading edge of global radar technology. The radar project is part of a $158 million program to fit HMAS Perth fitted with the CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT arrays, a lightweight mast to carry them, and an upgraded combat system. If next year's sea trials are successful the other seven Anzac frigates will get the same upgrade.

In many ways Sea 1448 has been a model project compared with previous Australian developmental programs. The ships are being modified by BAE Systems, which designed and built the ships originally, and Saab Systems, which designed and built their combat systems. These were the only naval combat systems in recent times to have worked from the day they were delivered.

In late 2008 the RAN tested a CEAFAR prototype at sea in an air warfare exercise. The trial proved the radar would work on a pitching, rolling warship, and that its separate faces could pass a radar track cleanly from one to the other under these conditions. The Navy and the Defence Materiel Organisation considered this a risk factor, so passing this test was an important step in the development program.

So great is the potential of its technology that the DMO and the US Navy formed an alliance with CEA to develop the next generation of PAR radars derived from CEAFAR. The so-called Auspar agreement was signed in December 2005 and is still current. Shortly afterwards US radar giant Northrop Grumman bought a 49 per cent stake in CEA Technologies. In a nice example of synchronicity, Northrop Grumman builds the innovative Mesa PAR sensor for the RAAF's Wedgetail early warning aircraft.

Ship Pennant Commission De-Comm
HMAS Anzac FFH 150 18 May 1996 2026
HMAS Arunta FFH 151 12 Dec 1998 2028
HMAS Warramunga FFH 152 31 Mar 2001 2031
HMAS Stuart FFH 153 17 Aug 2002 2032
HMAS Parramatta FFH 154 04 Oct 2003 2033
HMAS Ballarat FFH 155 26 Jun 2004 2034
HMAS Toowoomba FFH 156 08 Oct 2005 2035
HMAS Perth FFH 157 26 Aug 2006 2036

Displacement 3,600 tonnes
Length 118 metres
Beam 14.8 metres
  • 5 inch Mk45 Mod 2 automatic rapid fire gun,
  • Mk 41 vertical launch system with Sea Sparrow anti-air missile,
  • Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles,
  • 2 x Mk32 Mod 5 triple mounted torpedo tubes,
  • 4 x 50 calibre (12.7mm) machine guns
Main Machinery
  • 1 x General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engine;
  • 2 x MTU 12V 1163 diesels driving two controllable pitch propellers
Speed 28 knots14.404 m/s
51.856 km/h
0.0144 km/s
2,835.521 ft/min
47.259 ft/s
Company 173

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