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Australia Sends First Upgraded Anzac-Class Frigate to Middle East

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Australia Sends First Upgraded Anzac-Class Frigate to Middle East

This marks the first operational deployment for an Anzac-class with a new anti-ship missile defense upgrade.

Australia Sends First Upgraded Anzac-Class Frigate to Middle East
Credit: Australian Department of Defense

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) marked the first operational deployment of an Anzac-class frigate fitted with an upgraded combat system designed to bolster the vessel’s anti-ship missile defense capabilities, according to an Australian Department of Defense press release.

The 3,760-ton Anzac-class frigate HMAS Perth departed an Australian naval base at Rockingham, Western Australia on June 7 for the Middle East region to conduct maritime security operations, including counterterrorism, counter piracy, and narcotics interdiction, as part of so-called Operation MANITOU.

“Operating as part of the multi-national Combined Maritime Forces, we will conduct maritime security operations to counter and deter terrorism and the trade of narcotics that are used to fund terrorist activities,” Captain Ivan Ingham, the HMAS Perth’s commanding officer, said.

“Since the beginning of Operation MANITOU, Australian warships have interdicted more than four tons of illegal drugs being trafficked to fund international terrorism. We have trained hard to prepare for this task and thank our families and friends for their ongoing support,” he added.

The HMAS Perth was the RAN’s first Anzac-class frigate to be equipped with a new Anti-Ship Missile Defense upgrade under the Australian Department of Defense’s Project SEA 1448 Phase 2. The ship has been upgraded with a new phased array radar and missile illuminator jointly known in the RAN as the Phased Array Radar (PAR) System. “The PAR System delivers enhanced target detection and tracking that allows Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles to engage multiple targets simultaneously,” the project website explains.

“HMAS Perth was the first Anti-Ship Missile Defense upgraded Anzac frigate and so we are extremely proud and excited to be the first upgraded ship to deploy operationally,” Ingham noted. In addition, a new navigation radar system was installed aboard the ship.

Furthermore, the HMAS Perth also underwent an upgrade to accommodate a new multi-role MH-60R ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopter, boosting the ship’s anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities. The Seahawk helicopter can deliver air-launched anti-submarine torpedoes and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

“While we take great satisfaction in knowing that we will deploy with the world’s leading missile defense capability, we also realize that our highly capable surveillance sensors and new mission combat helicopter will also make a significant additional contribution to our mission,” Ingham added.

HMAS Perth is the eighth and final Anzac-class frigate built by Australian defense contractor Tenix. The ship was commissioned in 2006. The remaining seven Anzac-class vessels are also currently undergoing enhanced weapon and sensor systems refits.