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Anzac class

Guided missile frigate

Ancaz class

The Anzac class frigates were jointly developed by Australia and New Zealand, based on the German MEKO 200 design

 
 
Country of origin Australia
Entered service 1996
Crew 163 men
Sea endurance at least 30 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 118 m
Beam 14.8 m
Draught 4.35 m
Displacement, standard 3 000 t (?)
Displacement, full load 3 600 t
Propulsion and speed
Speed 27 knots
Range 6 000 nm at 18 knots
Propulsion Combined diesel or gas propulsion, with up to 39 000 shp driving 2 shafts
Airwing
Helicopters 1 x SH-60 Seahawk or SH-2G Super Seasprite
Armament
Artillery 1 x 127-mm dual-purpose dun, 1 x 20-mm CIWS, or 2 x 12.7-mm machine guns (see text)
Missiles 1 x 8-cell Mk.41 Mod 2 VLS launcher for Sea Ceptor SAMs, 2 x 4-cell Mk.141 launchers of t RGM-84 Harpoon AShMs
Torpedoes 2 x Mk.32 3-tube launchers for 354 mm torpedoes

 

   Named in honor of the distinguished Australia and New Zealand Corps, the Anzac class frigates are presently the backbone of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and the only fleet warships in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). From 1996 onward, they replaced the RAN's Leander class frigates, and the RNZN's River class destroyer escorts.

   Based on a German Blohm & Voss's successful MEKO 200 design pattern, the class' commercial designation is MEKO 200 ANZ. The Anzacs have a broadly similar shape and layout to the preceding MEKO 200-series vessels, but are easily differentiated by their very tall, angular masts, and canted, side-by-side twin funnels. The hull is visibly flared and knuckled along its entire length, and has a generously raked forecastle. The main gun is mounted forward. In response to Australian army pressure the caliber of the main gun was increased from 76-mm to 127-mm. The hangar and helipad are located aft, with a bulky, two-level superstructure in between. As many extraneous shapes and protrusions as possible were eliminated, in order to minimize the Anzac class' radar cross section, though it is by no means a stealth vessel.

   The design is of the modular type, allowing complete sections of the ships to be built in Newcastle in Australia and Whangerei in New Zealand for delivery to the Transfield Shipbuilding (now Tenix Defence Systems) yard at Williamstown in Australia for final assembly. The modular design also facilitates the retrofit of updated equipment as an existing module can be removed and replaced by a new module already fitted with the new equipment, which could include a number of modern guided weapon types as well as more advanced sensors.

   The first vessel in the class, FFH 150 Anzac, was laid-down on November 5th 1993, launched on September 16th 1994, and commissioned on May 18th 1996. New Zealand's first vessel, the F77 Te Kaha, was laid-down on September 19th 1994, launched on July 22nd 1995, and commissioned on July 22nd 1997. The final vessel in the class, Australia's FFH 157 Perth, was laid-down on July 24th 2003, launched on March 20th 2004, and commissioned on August 26th 2006. All vessels in the class were constructed by the Tenix Defense shipyard in Williamstown, Victoria. The ships were built to Bundesmarine standards, and 80% of the materials used were locally-supplied in Australia, while the remaining 20% were contributed by New Zealand.

   The development, construction, and procurement of the Anzac class were also a politically charged affair --- especially in New Zealand, where the procurement of any ocean-going warships was (and remains) a contentious issue. Different factions in the New Zealand government, the New Zealand Defense Forces (NZDF), and political pressure groups pressed different, competing agendas in regards to a new class of frigates, over a span of several decades. Proposals included buying retired British or US vessels, having various European offerings tailored to New Zealand's needs and built new, or purchasing a larger force of patrol vessels instead of warships. The purpose of the new warships was an issue as well, with the "Hawks" of the government wanting frigates to use in ANZUS military operations, while the "Doves" wanted patrol vessels purely for policing New Zealand's 200 nautical mile economic exclusion zone). The debate was even further soured when it came to light that the US military had not only deliberately brought nuclear weapons into New Zealand (which the US government had agreed not to do), but also that the NZDF themselves were secretly complicit. The term "frigate" had become something of a dirty word in New Zealand, and proponents of a frigate purchase used euphemisms such as "ocean combat ship" and "ocean surveillance vessel" to mask their intentions. Despite fierce opposition to a frigate purchase by many factions, the pro-frigate faction prevailed, and New Zealand committed itself to purchasing two Anzacs from Australia, with an option for to more.

   These controversies were not helped by the fact that the Anzac class frigates entered service without all of the features they were supposed to have (such as a Mk.15 Phalanx CIWS on the RNZN vessels), nor by the discovery in 2002 and subsequent repairs of microscopic cracks in the bilge keel and hull plating. A 2002 review also found that the Anzac class were far too few for economic exclusion zone patrols, and the configuration was excessively elaborate and heavily-armed for simply policing fishing areas. This prompted the RNZN to purchase four Protector class inshore patrol vessels in the late 2000s, and likely played a role in the New Zealand government's decision to limit their purchase to just two frigates.

   The propulsion system of the Anzac class is a Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG) arrangement, with one General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbine producing 30 172 shp, and two MTU 12V1163 TB83 diesel engines producing 8 840 shp, with either or both driving two shafts, allowing for a maximum speed of 27 kts. Enough fuel and supplies are carried aboard for a range of 6 000 nautical miles and an endurance at sea of at least 30 days. Two small, trapezoidal rudders and variable pitch propellers give the Anzac class a turning circle of approximately 300 m.

   The electronics initially consisted of a Raytheon SPS-49(V)8 ANZ air and surface search radar, a CelsiusTech 9LV 453 Ceros 200 target indication radar with both air and surface targeting capabilities, a Kelvin Hughes SharpEyeTM I-band navigation radar, a ThomsonSintra Spherion B sonar, a Petrel mine and obstacle avoidance sonar, a Cossor AIMS Mark XII IFF system, and a CelsiusTech 9LV 453 naval combat management system. Provisions are included for a towed sonar array, but none is normally available. A substantial electronic warfare suite is carried, including Mark 36 SRBOC chaff launchers, an SLQ-25A towed torpedo decoy, Nulka active missile decoy launchers, a Rascal Thorn modified Sceptre-A ESM system, and a Telefunken PST-1720 Telegon 10 RWR system.

   Following a series of modernizations in the 2000s and early 2010s, the RAN vessels were refitted with CEAFAR and CEAMOUNT phased array radars, a Vampir NG IRST system, and a Sharpeye navigational radar system; these were installed in new masts, giving the RAN's Anzac class frigates a very different silhouette. The electronics upgrades made to the RNZN's vessels have so far been more austere, and focus more on software and automation. As such, the appearance and capabilities of the F77 Te Kaha and F111 Te Mana are largely unchanged.

   The missile battery originally included the Raytheon RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, but since 2014 these are being replaced by the MDBA Sea Ceptor surface-to-air missile system. Though originally commissioned without an anti-ship missile battery, the Anzacs each received two 4-tube launchers for the RGM-84 Harpoon, starting in 2005. Two triple-tube Mk.32 launchers for 342 mm anti-submarine warfare torpedoes are fitted amidships; these originally launched the Mk.46 torpedo, but it has since been superseded in RAN and RNZN service by the MU 90 Impact.

   The two RNZN Anzac class frigates are each armed with a Mk.15 Phalanx 20 mm CIWS, for defense against missiles, aircraft, and small watercraft. The RAN's Anzac class frigates do not have a CIWS weapon, and are instead armed with two Rafael Mini-Typhoon remote weapon systems, each armed with a single M2HB .50 caliber machine gun.

   Total ammunition stowage is 500 127 mm shells, 32 Sea Ceptor SAMs, 8 RGM-84 Harpoon AShMs, and 18 MU 90 Impact 324 mm torpedoes. RNZN vessels also carry 1 550 20 mm shells, while RAN vessels instead carry 560 .50 caliber rounds.

   A landing pad on the stern and a hangar provide accommodations for a single helicopter, with the RAN vessels operating SH-60 Seahawks, and the RNZN vessels operating SH-2G Super Seasprites.

   The first notable actions of the Anzac class came in 1999 with the RNZN, in which they pursued poachers in the Ross Dependency, supported troop deployments into East Timor, and later joined the multinational interception force in the Persian Gulf. In 2003, the Anzac class experienced combat for the first time during the Battle of Al Faw, where the HMAS Anzac provided naval gunfire support for the Royal Marines.

   The RAN plans to retain its Anzac class Frigates until 2024, while the RNZN's vessels are to remain in service until 2030. They are meant to eventually be replaced under the SEA 5000 program, which calls for a warship twice as great in displacement, but the design is still far from being finalized.

 

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Royal Australian Navy

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Anzac (FFH 150) 1993 1994 1996

active, in service

Arunta (FFH 151) 1995 1996 1998

active, in service

Warramunga (FFH 152) 1997 1998 2001

active, in service

Stuart (FFH 153) 1998 1999 2002

active, in service

Parramatta (FFH 154) 1999 2000 2003

active, in service

Ballarat (FFH 155) 2000 2002 2004

active, in service

Toowoomba (FFH 156) 2002 2003 2005

active, in service

Perth (FFH 157) 2003 2004 2006

active, in service

 

Royal New Zealand Navy

 

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Te Kaha (F77) 1994 1995 1997

active, in service

Te Mana (F111) 1996 1997 1999

active, in service

 

  

 
Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class


 
Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class

Ancaz class


 
Ancaz class

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