Lockheed Martin Canada and Seaspan Shipyards have leveraged the modernization of Canada’s Halifax-class frigates into a major upgrade of New Zealand’s two ANZAC frigates.

What began as a NZ$446 million contract award in May to Lockheed Martin Canada to design, install and integrate the combat systems with a package similar to what is being done to the Halifax-class soon developed into a request from the NZ government to explore the upgrade of the Te Mana and Te Kaha en par with what is currently being performed at Seaspan’s shipyard in Victoria. A final contract has yet to be signed but all the parties reached a deal last week to begin discussions.

Though NZ will use the MBDA Sea Ceptor missile, most of the systems will likely be the same as those on the Halifax-class, including DRS communications systems, L-3 engineering systems and Lockheed Martin combat mission systems, among a host of other Canadian suppliers likely to benefit.

The deal is probably the first export of a Canadian design in recent memory and will start as soon as the last Halifax-class frigate completes its upgrade around 2016.

With approximately 30 of the Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems-built MEKO-class frigates on the market in 11 countries – and most nearing 20 years of service – both LMC and Seaspan are already beating the bushes for additional business. More on this in a future issue of Vanguard.