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$900m FFG Upgrade

June 14, 1999

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HMAS DARWIN…one of the FFGs involved in the $900m upgrade.
The RAN's six Guided Missile Frigates (FFGs) are to be upgraded at ADI Limited's Garden Island, Sydney, facility at a cost of almost $900m.

The upgrades will be conducted in ship-build order starting with HMAS ADELAIDE in mid 2002 and finishing with HMAS NEWCASTLE in late 2005. A SRA will be conducted concurrently with the upgrade and a Life Of Type Extension (LOTE) will be implemented for the first four FFGs adding a further five years to their service lives.

Purpose of the upgrade is to regain the original relative capability of the ships against regional threats and to ensure they remain effective and supportable through to their end of life in 2013 to 2020.

The upgrade will improve the ships' offensive and self-defence capabilities and address a number of the current reliability and maintainability shortcomings.

As part of the upgrade much of the current combat system and equipment will be either replaced or upgraded. The current combat system will become a hybrid command and control system consisting of modified and re-hosted FFG Naval Combat Data System (NCDS) and Australian Distributed Architecture Combat System (ADACS) operating through new interfaces and a Fibre Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) Local Area Network (LAN).

Improvements to the Above Water Warfare (AWW) system will see the Mk92 Mod 2 Gun and Missile Fire Control System (GMFCS) upgraded to the Mod 12 variant and the AN/SPS-49(V)4 air surveillance radar upgraded to AN/SPS-49A(V)1MPU.

A multi-sensor Radar Integrated Automatic Detect and Track System (RIADT) will be included. This will result in a much improved and reliable target detection, tracking and engagement capability, particularly against low altitude targets in a clutter environment.

The upgraded engagement capability will be supported by the installation of a tactical length MK41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) capable of firing the Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM). The AWW Combat System will also be supported by the introduction of the LINK 16 tactical data link to complement the LINK 11, which is to be retained.

The AN/SLQ-32(V)2 system will be replaced with a new electronic support system that is yet to be announced.

The upgrade will realise improvements in Under Water Warfare (UWW) with removal of the AN/SQS-56 and MULLOKA sonar systems and the installation of a common variant of the Thompson Spherion Medium Frequency Sonar improved from that fitted to the ANZAC ships. Additionally, the upgraded FFGs will be fitted with torpedo self defence and mine/obstacle avoidance capabilities.

While the bulk of the upgrade will realise enhancements to the weapons systems a number of the ships' platform systems will also be upgraded. The improvements will cover replacement of the Ship Service Diesel Generator (SSDGs) prime movers, Static Frequency Converters (SFCs), and both the High and Low Pressure Air Compressors (HPAC/LPAC).

Operators and ships' command teams will be trained in upgraded facilities located at HMAS WATSON.