Over the past few years a project team has been working on the upgrading of the Royal Australian Navy's ANZAC Class Frigates. The eight ships built during the 90's and early into the new century were thought to lack the potential to protect high value ships that they were designed to do. This led to a project to upgrade the vessels under a project called the ANZAC Anti-Ship Missile Defence project.
Several Australian and overseas companies have been involved including BAE (ex TENIX Defence), SAAB Australia and CEA Technologies under the control of the Defence Material Organisation or DMO. CEA came up with a unique Phased Array Radar system called CEA-FAR. These have undergone sea trials for several years aboard HMA Ships ARUNTA and PERTH. The system, now perfected, along with their new CEA-MOUNT Fire Control Radar, has been designed into a new mast to replace the mid-ships mounted SPS-49 radar presently fitted. A new fore mast has also been designed to carry new Navigation Radars and communication equipment.
HMAS PERTH has now completed the upgrade and is and carrying out a full set of harbour and sea trials as well as missile firings using the new phased array RADAR and Fire Control systems. Following successful completion of these trials the other seven ANZAC Ships will undergo a similar fit out. Many new systems have been incorporated into the upgrade including a new Infra-red Targeting System, improved Communications and Control systems and the closing in of the open quarterdeck at the stern of the ship.
Following the successful completion of the models of the "HOBART" Class AWD models, DMO approached us to produce several models of the upgraded ANZAC frigates. In late 2009 contracts were awarded for two 1:72 scale models and the complete rebuild of a very old damaged 1:50 scale model. This was followed a couple of days later by an order from CEA to produce two 1:100 scale models and also one more 1:100 scale model for SAAB Systems Australia.
All the models have now been completed and are on display in various offices around Australia with two 1:72 scale models in Canberra including one taking pride of place in the Chief of Navy's office. A large 1:50 scale model in the project office in Fremantle, WA, whilst two 1:100 scale models for CEA are doing the rounds of various defence exhibitions around the world, with a third with SAAB on display in Adelaide.
The ANZAC Class ships look very different to what we recognise as the original MEKO 200 ANZAC ships. Several other Navies who operate MEKO 200 Class Vessels are looking at similar ANZAC ASMD upgrades. One of these is the Hellenic Navy (Greece) with their "HYDRA" Class ships. DMG has also completed a 1:100 scale model of the HYDRA Class vessel for SAAB to show the proposed systems.