DSTA has completed the upgrade of all six RSN Formidable-class stealth frigates, which included bolstering the frigates’ communications, sensor and defence capabilities.
The frigates have been equipped with an enhanced gunnery suite that includes a fire control radar (FCR). This dual band radar increases the frigate’s gunnery operating envelope with higher track continuity even in scenarios of high clutter and jamming. The team also worked closely with the RSAF to trial the radar in coordination with multiple RSAF assets.
As part of the upgrade, the team equipped the frigates with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Link 16 datalink system, boosting its interoperability with forces from Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, United Kingdom and NATO. This broadens the range of coalition, maritime security and peace support operations that the RSN can participate in. The frigates can also network multiple platforms communicating on different protocols during multinational exercises such as the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC). Similarly, the FCR was integrated into the missile suite as an additional track source and this capability was demonstrated during RIMPAC.
To integrate the datalink system with the existing systems on the frigates, the team analysed various options of locating the system, conducted engineering assessments to evaluate the electromagnetic compatibility and mitigated interference with existing emitters before finalising the antenna location.
Through detailed planning and coordination with the RSN, the team was able to maximise the limited availability of the frigates and conduct system tests on two frigates concurrently.