23 July 2012
The odometer on New Zealand’s frigate HMNZS TE KAHA has just clicked over 500,000 nautical miles – the equivalent of travelling to the Moon and back.
HMNZS TE KAHA gets close to ice bergs in the Southern Ocean during her furthest deployment South
The milestone demonstrates the significant contribution the ship has made to regional and global security. The ANZAC-class frigates are the mainstay of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s combat forces, and have a range of over 7000 nautical miles. TE KAHA was commissioned in to service on 22 July 1997 and in the 15 years since has deployed the world over, including being on operational service in East Timor (1999), the Arabian Gulf (1999), Solomon Islands (2000-2001) and the Gulf of Oman (2002-2003).
The Navy’s frigates are armed with a 5 inch gun, torpedoes, air defence missiles and close-in weapons systems for self defence. The frigates also carry a SH-2G Seasprite helicopter armed with air-to-surface missiles, making these ships the sharp end of New Zealand’s maritime defences.
In addition to her operational missions TE KAHA has travelled to the mid Southern Ocean (63oS), and northwards through the Asia Pacific region as a regular contributor for New Zealand’s commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (UK,NZ, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore).
The current Commanding Officer, Commander Jon Beadsmore, is proud to be at the helm during this milestone, the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe 23 times: “This was the first ship I served in with the RNZN and as such is something of an alma mater for me,” he said while preparing the ship for her next task at Exercise Rim of the Pacific.
“The current crew is very much like all those before us, a broad range of ages and backgrounds and all immensely proud of our Ship,” Commander Beadsmore says.
In order to keep up with the times the ship has undergone a number of equipment improvements most recently a set of powerful new engines. Next on the list are improvements to the way equipment on board is controlled and then a sensors and weapons upgrade “to keep her eyes and teeth sharp”.
TE KAHA is currently participating in the world’s largest naval exercise and is in the company of 42 ships, six submarines and over 200 aircraft from 22 different nations. She is joined by the RNZN Operational Dive Team, Mine Counter Measures Team, a Rifle Platoon from 1 RNZIR, a P-3K maritime patrol aircraft (with two crews) and personnel working ashore and afloat in a number of Headquarters.
For more information please contact Lieutenant Commander Ange Barker, Senior Communications and Media Advisor – Navy on 021 244 0638