Anzac-class frigate

The Anzac class (also identified as the ANZAC class and the MEKO 200 ANZ type) is a ship class of ten frigates; eight operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and two operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN). During the 1980s, the RAN began plans to replace the River class destroyer escorts with a mid-capability patrol frigate, and settled on the idea of modifying a proven foreign design for Australian conditions. Around the same time, the RNZN was seeking to replace their Leander class frigates while maintaining blue-water capabilities. A souring of relations between New Zealand and the United States of America in relation to New Zealand's nuclear-free zone and the ANZUS security treaty prompted New Zealand to seek improved ties with other nations, particularly Australia. As both nations were seeking warships of similar capabilities, the decision was made in 1987 to collaborate on their acquisition. The project name (and later, the class name) is taken from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps of the First World War.

Twelve ship designs (including an airship) were tendered in 1986. By 1989, the project had selected a proposal by Germany's Blohm + Voss, based on their MEKO 200 design, to be built in Australia by AMECON at Williamstown, Victoria. The modular design of the frigates allowed sections to be constructed at Whangarei, New Zealand and Newcastle, New South Wales in addition to Williamstown. The RAN ordered eight ships, while the RNZN ordered two and had the option to add two more. The frigate acquisition was controversial and widely opposed in New Zealand, and as a result, the additional ships were not ordered.

In 1992, work started on the frigates; 3,600-tonne (3,500-long-ton) ships capable of a 27-knot (50 km/h; 31 mph) top speed, and a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph). The armament initially consisted of a single 5-inch gun and a point-defence missile system, supported by a missile-armed helicopter. In addition, the ships were fitted for but not with a torpedo system, anti-ship missiles, and a close-in weapons system. The last ship of the class entered service in 2006; by this point, the RAN and RNZN had embarked on separate projects to improve the frigates' capabilities by fitting the additional weapons, along with updates to other systems and equipment.

Since entering service, Anzac class frigates have made multiple deployments outside local waters, including involvement in the INTERFET multi-national deployment to East Timor, and multiple operational periods in the Persian Gulf. As of 2014, all ten ships are in service. The RAN intends to start replacing theirs in 2024, while the RNZN ships will remain active until around 2030.

Anzac-class frigate
Class Ship
Type Frigate
Manufacturer Tenix
Production Period 1993 - 2004
Origin Australia
Country Name Origin Year
Australia 1994
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Australia 1996 View
New Zealand 1997 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Tenix 1993 2004 10 View

The Anzac class originated from the RAN's New Surface Combatant (NSC) project, which began in the mid-1980s to find a replacement for the RAN's six River-class destroyer escorts. By 1985, various design briefs ranging from 1,200 to 5,000 tonnes (1,200 to 4,900 long tons) displacement were under consideration, with the RAN emphasising anti-ship missile defence, damage control, and ship survivability based on Royal Navy experiences during the Falklands War. Eventually, the project settled on a ship of approximately 3,600 tonnes (3,500 long tons) displacement. At this time, it was also believed that Australia did not have the capability to design a major warship from scratch, so the decision was made to select a proven foreign design and fit it with an Australian-developed combat system. In early 1986, a review of policy regarding surface combatants saw the NSC classified into the middle of three tiers: a patrol frigate designed to operate on low- to mid-intensity operations in Australia's Economic Exclusion Zone.

Around the same time, the need to replace the RNZN's Leander-class frigate force with new warships was under consideration. The government saw maintaining a blue-water capable force built around three or four frigates as important, but the cost of acquiring and maintaining such a force was prohibitive. Alternate suggestions, such as reducing the RNZN to a coast guard-type force responsible for coastal and fisheries protection, replacing the frigates with smaller offshore patrol vessels, or reorienting the navy to primarily operate submarines, were made in several venues, but were seen as unacceptable loss in capability. Around the same time, the 1984-elected Fourth Labour Government of New Zealand implemented a nuclear-free zone, which incensed the United States of America and led to a deterioration of relations between the two nations, including the American withdrawal of support for New Zealand under the ANZUS security treaty. In response, the New Zealand government sought to improve ties with Australia; one such avenue was to promote military interoperability between the countries by standardising equipment and procedures where possible. The Australian NSC project was seen to have "virtually identical" requirements to the RNZN's proposed Replacement Combat Ship concept, and the need to replace the warships dovetailed with the need to improve relations with Australia.

On 6 March 1987, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the two nations and RNZN representatives were invited to collaborate on the project. To recognise their involvement, the project was renamed the Anzac Ship Project, taking the name from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps of World War I. The New Zealanders' involvement was structured to allow their involvement in the selection of the design and shipyard and explore options for New Zealand industry involvement: when the time came to commit, they could either continue cooperating into the construction stage of the project, independently order the ships from the designer, or abandon the project entirely.

The proposed baseline characteristics called for a vessel capable of reaching speeds of 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph) and a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph) based on a Combined diesel or gas (CODOG) propulsion system, able to operate in Sea State 5, and capable of operating a Seahawk-size helicopter. The ship was to be fitted with a 76 or 127 mm (3.0 or 5.0 in) main gun and an eight-cell launcher for a point-defence missile system, and fitted for but not with a torpedo system, anti-ship missiles, and a close-in weapons system. Tenders were requested by the project at the end of 1986, and 19 submissions were made, 12 of which included ship designs: the Netherlands' M-class (later Karel Doorman-class) frigate, a design based on the German MEKO 200 multipurpose frigate design, Italy's Maestrale-class frigate, the French F2000 design, the Canadian Halifax-class frigate, a variant of the British Leander-class updated to modern standards, the German Type 122 (later Bremen-class frigate), Norway's Nordkapp-class offshore patrol vessel, the British Type 23 frigate (which was proposed by two different shipyards), South Korea's Ulsan-class frigate, and an airship design proposed by Airship Industries. By August 1987, a cost ceiling of A$3.5 billion (1986 terms) was established, and the submitted proposals were narrowed down in October to Blohm + Voss's MEKO design, the M class offered by Royal Schelde, and a scaled-down version of the British Type 23 proposed by Yarrow Shipbuilders. The Type 23 proposal was eliminated in November 1987, with the other two going into a development phase where the designer partnered with an Australian shipbuilder: Blohm + Voss with AMECON, and Royal Schelde with Australian Warship Systems.

On 14 August 1989, the Australian government announced that AMECON had been awarded the tender for construction of the Anzac class based on Blohm + Voss' modified MEKO 200 design. Although both the MEKO 200 and M-class designs met the design requirements, the MEKO design was selected as more ships could be purchased for the budget cost. The A$5 billion contract was, at the time, the largest defence contract awarded in Australia. The decision was made despite ongoing debate in New Zealand over the project. New Zealand committed in principle to the purchase of two frigates plus the option for two more on 7 September, and the contract for the first two ships was signed on 10 November.

In 1992, the Australian Force Structure Review contained plans to replace the three Perth-class guided missile destroyers and four of the six Adelaide-class guided missile frigates with air defence vessels. The initial proposal – to build an additional six Anzac-class frigates configured for wide-area anti-aircraft warfare – did not go ahead as the Anzac design was too small to effectively host all the required equipment and weapons. Instead, the RAN began to upgrade the Adelaides in 1999 to fill the anti-aircraft capability that would be lost when the Perths left service between 1999 and 2001, and began work on long-term replacement of the destroyers with what became the Hobart-class air warfare destroyer.

Name Pennant Number Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned
Royal Australian Navy
Anzac FFH 150 Tenix Defence, Williamstown 5 November 1993 16 September 1994 18 May 1996
Arunta FFH 151 22 July 1995 28 June 1996 12 December 1998
Warramunga FFH 152 26 July 1997 23 May 1998 31 March 2001
Stuart FFH 153 25 July 1998 17 April 1999 17 August 2002
Parramatta FFH 154 24 April 1999 17 June 2000 4 October 2003
Ballarat FFH 155 4 August 2000 25 May 2002 26 June 2004
Toowoomba FFH 156 26 July 2002 16 May 2003 8 October 2005
Perth FFH 157 24 July 2003 20 March 2004 26 August 2006
Royal New Zealand Navy
Te Kaha F77 Tenix Defence, Williamstown 19 September 1994 22 July 1995 22 July 1997
Te Mana F111 18 May 1996 10 May 1997 10 December 1999

Name: Anzac
Builders: AMECON
Operators:  Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
 Royal New Zealand Navy(RNZN)
Preceded by: River class destroyer escort (RAN)
Leander class frigate (RNZN)
Built: 5 November 1993–2006
In commission: 18 May 1996–present (RAN)
22 July 1997–present (RNZN)
Planned: 12
Completed: 10
Active: 10
General characteristics as designed
Type: Frigate
Displacement: 3,600 t (3,500 long tons; 4,000 short tons) full load displacement
Length: 109 m (358 ft) waterline length
118 m (387 ft) length overall
Beam: 14.8 m (49 ft)
Draught: 4.35 m (14.3 ft) at full load
Propulsion: Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG):
1 × General Electric LM2500-30 gas turbine, 30,172 hp (22,499 kW)
2 × MTU 12V1163 TB83 diesel engines, 8,840 hp (6,590 kW) each
2 × controllable-pitch propellers
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)
Range: 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 18 knots (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 22 officers and 141 sailors
Sensors and
processing systems:
Raytheon SPS-49(V)8 ANZ aerial search and long-range surveillance
CelsiusTech 9LV 453 Ceros 200 Target Indication Radar for air and surface search
Kelvin Hughes SharpEyeTM I-Bandl
CelsiusTech 9LV 453 unit for fire control
ThomsonSintra Spherion B hull-mounted bow sonar
Petrel Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar system
Fitted for but not with towed-array sonar
Cossor AIMS Mark XIIidentification-friend-or-foe system
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
Mark 36 SRBOC launchers
SLQ-25A towed torpedo decoy
Nulka decoy launchers
Rascal Thorn modified Sceptre-Aelectronic support measures
Telefunken PST-1720 Telegon 10 radar intercept unit
Armament: Fitted:
1 × 5-inch 54 calibre Mark 45 Mod 2 dual purpose gun
1 × 8-cell Mark 41 Mod 5 vertical launch system, firing RIM-7 Sea Sparrow
2 × 12.7-millimetre (0.50 in) machine guns
2 × Mark 32 3-tube torpedo launchers, firing Mark 46 torpedoes
1 × Vulcan Phalanx CIWS (RNZN only)
Fitted for but not with:
1 × close-in weapons system (RAN only)
2 × 4-canister Harpoon missile launchers
2nd Mark 41 VLS
Aircraft carried: 1 helicopter: Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk (RAN), Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite (RNZN)
Notes: For upgrades and current configurations, see the sections on"Australian modifications" and "New Zealand modifications", or the individual ship articles

End notes