HMAS Arunta’s new mast has been installed as part of the ship’s Mid Life Capability Assurance Program (AMCAP) upgrade being undertaken at BAE Systems Australia’s Henderson facility.
The new mast was manufactured by BAE Systems as part of the Warship Asset Management Agreement (WAMA) between BAE, SAAB Australia, Naval Ship Management (NSM) and the Commonwealth.
Around 650 people are currently working on the upgrade of the ANZAC frigate fleet, including 400 BAE employees.
The mast installation is one of the last major works on the ship ahead of her undocking before the end of the year. She will then undertake sea trials ahead of a planned return to service in 2019.
The replacement mast is taller and wider than the existing mast to accommodate the new CEA L-Band radar system, while retaining the existing anti-ship missile defence radar capability. The L-Band radar will be integrated into the existing combat management systems of the ship by Saab Australia.
HMAS Arunta arrived at Henderson in September 2017. In addition to the new mast, the ship will also have upgraded ventilation systems, new sewage systems, improvements to the control and monitoring system, engine modifications to improve power and efficiency, and a new communications suite.
The improvements to the control and monitoring system of the ship include replacing existing analogue technology with digital. According to BAE, this is the first time that such a technology refresh has been undertaken on such a large scale on the ANZAC-class ships.
Integration of the communications system into the existing data communications systems has been closely managed during design by Melbourne-based defence communications company Leonardo.
“Our team at Henderson and Williamstown in Victoria has established and maintained an important maritime engineering and program management capability through the sustainment of the ANZAC fleet over more than two decades,” BAE Australia Chief Executive Gabby Costigan said.
“That capability is critical to ensure that the project achieves quality, cost and schedule milestones despite the enormous complexity of such work.”
HMAS Anzac and Perth have also docked for AMCAP upgrades, marking the first time all three warships have been on the hard stand at Henderson.