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HMNZS Te Kaha arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for RIMPAC 2016.jpg
HMNZS Te Kaha in 2016
New Zealand
NameHMNZS Te Kaha
BuilderTenix Defence
Laid down19 September 1994
Launched22 July 1995
Commissioned22 July 1997
Motto"He Ponanga Kaha" (service with strength)
Honours and
Meritorious Unit Commendation (United States)
StatusActive as of 2021
General characteristics
Class and typeAnzac-class frigate
Displacement3,600 tonnes full load
Length118 m (387 ft)
Beam15 m (49 ft)
Draught4 m (13 ft)
Speed27+ knots (50+ km/h; 31+ mph)
Range6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement178 Officers and ratings (25 Officers, 153 ratings)
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Sonars: Broadband Sonar Advanced Processing System (BSAPS) for the Spherion B hull-mounted sonar and the TUUM-6 multi-channel Digital Underwater Communication System (DUWCS).[1] Provision for towed array
  • Air search radar: Thales Group Smart-S Mk2 3d multi-beam naval search radar.
  • Surface search radar: Thales Group Smart-S Mk2 3d multi-beam naval search radar. Sharpe Eye 2D.
  • Navigation: Two Furuno 3320 series X band radars.[1]
  • Infred: Vampir IRST Infred.
  • Laser: Elbit Systems Laser Warning/Detection.
Electronic warfare
& decoys
  • ESM: Eibit/Elisra ESM.
  • Countermeasures: Decoys: G & D Aircraft SRBOC Mk 36 Mod 1 decoy launchers for SRBOC. Rheinmetall MASS. DLF Floating Decoys. Sea Sentor.
Aircraft carriedOne Kaman SH-2G(I) Super Seasprite helicopter

HMNZS Te Kaha (F77) is one of ten Anzac-class frigates, and one of two serving in the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). The name Te Kaha is Māori, meaning 'fighting prowess' or 'strength' (for further information on this term, see Kaha).

Design and construction[edit]

During the mid-1980s, the RNZN began considering the replacement of their four Leander-class frigates.[2] Around the same time, a deterioration in New Zealand-United States relations forced the New Zealand government to improve ties with local nations.[3] As the Royal Australian Navy was seeking to replace their River-class destroyer escorts with ships nearly identical to what the RNZN wanted, the two nations decided to collaborate on the acquisition in early 1987.[4][5][6] Tenders had been requested in 1986, and 12 ship designs (including an airship) were submitted.[7][8] By August 1987, these were narrowed down in October to Blohm + Voss's MEKO 200 design, the M class (later Karel Doorman class) offered by Royal Schelde, and a scaled-down Type 23 frigate proposed by Yarrow Shipbuilders.[9][10] In 1989, the Australian government announced that Melbourne-based shipbuilder AMECON (which became Tenix Defence) would build the modified MEKO 200 design.[9][10][11] However, the decision to buy the frigates had been highly controversial in New Zealand, primarily because of the cost of purchasing frigate-type ships, plus the idea that the high-capability warships would be too few and too overspecialised for the fisheries and economic exclusion zone (EEZ) patrols expected to be the RNZN's core operations.[12] Despite ongoing debate, the New Zealand government agreed to purchase two frigates in addition to the RAN's eight, and had an option for two more.[13][14] This option expired in 1997 without New Zealand exercising it; there were proposals to buy a new or second-hand Anzac outside the terms of the original contract, but a lack of political support stopped this developing, and the number built for the RNZN remained at two.[15] The drop in capability and the issue of tying up the Anzacs on EEZ patrols when they could be deployed more suitably elsewhere were factors leading to the RNZN's Project Protector acquisition program.[16]

The Anzacs are based on Blohm + Voss' MEKO 200 PN (or Vasco da Gama-class) frigates, modified to meet Australian and New Zealand specifications and maximise the use of locally built equipment.[11][13] Each frigate has a 3,600-tonne (3,500-long-ton; 4,000-short-ton) full load displacement.[17] The ships are 109 metres (358 ft) long at the waterline, and 118 metres (387 ft) long overall, with a beam of 14.8 metres (49 ft), and a full load draught of 4.35 metres (14.3 ft).[17] The ships are fitted with a Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG) propulsion machinery layout, consisting of two controllable-pitch propellers driven by a single General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbine and two MTU diesel engines: initially the TB83 model, but these were replaced in 2009 with more powerful TB93s.[11][17][18] Maximum speed is 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph), and maximum range is over 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph); about 50% greater than other MEKO 200 designs.[11][17][19] The standard ship's company of an Anzac consists of 22 officers and 141 sailors.[17]

As designed, the main armament for the frigate is a 5-inch 54 calibre Mark 45 gun, supplemented by an eight-cell Mark 41 vertical launch system for RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles, two 12.7-millimetre (0.50 in) machine guns, and two Mark 32 triple torpedo tube sets firing Mark 46 torpedoes.[11][17] They were also designed for but not with a close-in weapons system (a Phalanx CIWS installed shortly after the frigate's completion, supplemented by two Mini Typhoons from 2006 onwards), two quad-canister Harpoon missile launchers, and a second Mark 41 launcher (neither of which have been added to the New Zealand ships).[11][20][21] The New Zealand Anzacs initially operated with a Westland Wasp helicopter, which were later replaced by Kaman SH-2 Seasprites, then Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters.[11][22]

Te Kaha was laid down at Williamstown, Victoria on 19 September 1994.[13] The ship was assembled from six hull modules and six superstructure modules; the superstructure modules were fabricated in Whangarei, New Zealand, and hull modules were built at both Williamstown and Newcastle, New South Wales, with final integration at Williamstown.[11] She was launched on 22 July 1995, and commissioned into the RNZN on 22 July 1997.[13] In early 2002, microscopic cracks in Te Kaha's bilge keel and hull plating were discovered.[20][23] This problem, which was common to the first four ships of the Anzac class, was later rectified.[23]

Operational history[edit]

In 1999, Te Kaha pursued Patagonian Toothfish poachers in the Ross Dependency, participated in the INTERFET multinational deployment to East Timor from 19 to 26 September, and operated as part of the Multinational Interception Force in the Persian Gulf.[24][25]

The frigate was also involved in the Solomon Islands conflict during 2000 and 2001, with several periods as guardship at the capital, Honiara.[24]

In 2002, Te Kaha returned to the Persian Gulf, this time as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, after a four-month flag-showing deployment in Asian waters.[24] The frigate was replaced in the Gulf by Te Mana in early 2003.[24]

In 2010 Te Kaha and HMNZS Endeavour became the first RNZN ships to Visit the USA Mainland since the dissolution of the ANZUS treaty.

In 2012 Te Kaha attended Exercise RIMPAC.

On 16 February 2015, Te Kaha sailed from New Zealand to Gallipoli, ahead of the 100th Anniversary of the landings there during World War I. After completion of this event, the frigate sailed for the Gulf of Oman where she was assigned to anti-piracy patrols. Following this, she sailed back to New Zealand after participating in the Australian-led exercise Exercise Talisman Saber. The ship returned to New Zealand on 2 August 2015 to family members, senior naval staff and the Maori Cultural group who performed a haka. Also involved in Talisman Saber 2015 was the multi-role vessel, HMNZS Canterbury and the fleet tanker, HMNZS Endeavour.

In June 2017, the ship's deployment in the western Pacific was extended to provide support to the US 7th Fleet after USS Fitzgerald collided with the container ship MV ACX Crystal, killing seven sailors and causing extensive damage to the destroyer.[26] The frigate directly contributed to the escort of USS Nimitz, an aircraft carrier replacing USS Carl Vinson in the region.[27]

In March 2018, Te Kaha arrived in Victoria, British Columbia to undergo a major upgrade of her combat management system to the Lockheed Martin CMS 330, as well as seeing the replacement of the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow with the new Sea Ceptor surface-to-air missile.[28][29] The upgrade is expected to cost NZD639 million.[29] In September 2020, the refit of Te Kaha was reportedly complete and the ship began post-upgrade sea trials in preparation for a return to active service.[1]

In December 2020 Te Kaha has completed initial refit upgrades and sea trials and is sailing back to Auckland New Zealand.[30][31] It was also reported by Lockheed Martin that Te Kaha is on her way back to New Zealand.[32] On the 20th December 2020 Te Kaha sailed Devonport Naval Base in Auckland.[33] While she has finished the upgrades she has not completed her maintenance routine.

In September 2021 HMNZS Aotearoa and Te Kaha sailed for an international defence exercise in South East Asia and also interact with the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) as it conducts engagement activities in the Indo-Pacific region.[34]


In November 2018, the US Navy awarded Te Kaha the Meritorious Unit Commendation for supporting the 7th Fleet after the Fitzgerald collision.[35]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Royal New Zealand Navy's Te Kaha Frigate Starts Post-Upgrade Sea Trials". 9 September 2020.
  2. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 23–5
  3. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 26–7
  4. ^ Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, pp. 244–5
  5. ^ Fairall-Lee, Miller, & Murphy, in Forbes, Sea Power, p. 336
  6. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 27–9
  7. ^ Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 244
  8. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, p. 30
  9. ^ a b Jones, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 245
  10. ^ a b Greener, Timing is everything, p. 31
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h Grazebrook, Anzac frigates sail diverging courses
  12. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 31–2
  13. ^ a b c d Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 504
  14. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 43–4
  15. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 81–6
  16. ^ McKinnon, New Zealand's navy follows a new heading
  17. ^ a b c d e f Sharpe (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships 1998–99, pgs. 25, 470
  18. ^ Scott, New Zealand invests in ANZAC upgrade path
  19. ^ Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 505
  20. ^ a b Greener, Timing is Everything, p. 46
  21. ^ Scott, Enhanced small-calibre systems offer shipborne stopping power
  22. ^ Greener, Timing is everything, pp. 46–7
  23. ^ a b Wertheim, The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 21
  24. ^ a b c d Greener, Timing is Everything, p. 47
  25. ^ Stevens, Strength Through Diversity, p. 14
  26. ^ Graham, Euan (29 June 2017). "A silver fern lining to Fitzgerald collision". The Interpreter. Lowy Institute. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  27. ^ "NZ Navy's Te Kaha to support US Seventh Fleet after fatal collision near Japan". One News Now. NZ Newswire. 26 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  28. ^ "New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha arrives in Canada for combat system upgrade". Naval Today. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  29. ^ a b Carl, David (30 April 2018). "HMNZS Te Kaha begins refit". Jane's Information Group. The vessel will receive an upgraded combat management system (CMS) based on Lockheed Martin’s CMS 330, in addition to the integration of other sensors, the Sea Ceptor anti-missile system, and a combat systems trainer, to be refitted for further service. The original contract for the refit programme, known as the Frigate Systems Upgrade (FSU) was signed in 2014, but a revised version was signed in December 2017, at an expected cost of NZD639 million for both Te Kaha and its sister ship HMMZS TE MANA.
  30. ^ "Royal New Zealand Navy on Facebook". Facebook. Archived from the original on 27 April 2022.[user-generated source]
  31. ^ @NZNavy (2 December 2020). "Home before Christmas" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  32. ^ "HMNZS Te Kaha Sails Back to New Zealand with New Capability". December 2020.
  33. ^ "Navy ship returns to New Zealand just in time for summer". 20 December 2020.
  34. ^ "NZDF exercises with international counterparts in South East Asia". 9 September 2021.
  35. ^ "New Zealand Defence Force presented rare award by US Navy". 3 November 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2018.



Journal articles[edit]

  • Grazebrook, A.W. (1 November 1996). "Anzac frigates sail diverging courses". Jane's Navy International. Jane's Information Group. 101 (9).
  • Scott, Richard (12 December 2007). "Enhanced small-calibre systems offer shipborne stopping power". International Defence Review. Jane's Information Group.
  • Scott, Richard (22 September 2009). "New Zealand invests in ANZAC upgrade path". International Defence Review. Jane's Information Group.

External links[edit]