Halifax-class frigate upgrade interesting for Royal New Zealand Navy?

A report by David Pugliese entitled “New Zealand To Upgrade Frigates” advises that the Government of New Zealand is searching for a midlife upgrade for its two ANZAC-class frigates.  While one would have expected the New Zealand government to begin its search for an upgrade in Australia, it would appear that the Royal Australian Navy intends retiring its frigates in 2024 without a major modification.

I hope this leads the Royal New Zealand Navy to Canada.   In part, I say this because this week I just finished a tour of HMCS Halifax just out of its Halifax-class Modernization (HCM)/Frigate Life Extension (FELEX) mid-life refit and upgrade.  Noting the navy has just recently accepted the ship and that it is at the start of its trial period, I was deeply impressed with the initial results.

HCM/FELEX is a thorough job.  It replaces: radars, electronic warfare, decoys, the already successful command and control system and the communications control system.  It dramatically upgrades both missile systems and the gun. It also adds an infrared search and track system and both the Link 16 and Link 22 data exchange systems.  I found the operations room completely rebuilt and, as Halifax is one of four frigates receiving the ‘flagship suite’, an extensive ‘flag plot’ information display is provided.  The layout was exceptionally well thought out and the displays appeared vivid in the detail they provided.  One also sensed the contractor and crew relations were excellent, with both dedicated to the long-term success of the project.  Certainly, this contract has very successfully remained clear of any media-reported scandal or misery.  I hope this continues.

In the meantime, the Royal New Zealand Navy could do worse than looking at HCM/FELEX for elements of its midlife refit.