The Royal New Zealand Navy's (RNZN's) Otago-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), HMNZS Otago and HMNZS Wellington , have completed successful acceptance trials of the Typhoon naval gun system, an RNZN spokesperson told IHS Jane's on 20 August.
The trials were conducted over 11-12 August at an undisclosed location. "The aim of the trials was to verify that the installed Rafael Typhoon Weapon System functions correctly firing live ammunition at a towed target," said Lieutenant Commander Vicki Rendall.
The vessels, formerly armed with the MSI DS 25M Autsig 25 mm gun system as primary weapons, were installed with the Rafael Typhoon 25 mm stabilised naval gun as part of an upgrade programme.
The ships also had their Vistar 350 day and night surveillance system replaced with Rafael's Toplite multi-sensor optronic payload, which incorporates a laser designator, advanced correlation tracker, and a forward-looking infrared sensor.
"The integrated weapon system with Typhoon Toplite replaces the existing MSI Naval Gun System and the Vistar 350 Electro-Optical Surveillance System," said Lt Cdr Rendall. As well as the 25 mm guns, each vessel is equipped with two 12.7 mm machine guns.
Otago and Wellington were inducted into the RNZN in February and May 2010 respectively under the Project Protector programme. The programme aims to meet patrol and surveillance requirements in New Zealand's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and to assist South Pacific states in patrolling their own EEZs.
The upgraded Otago-class OPVs are expected to achieve full qualification by the end of 2014.
Lt Cdr Rendall also told IHS Jane's that besides the Otago-class vessels, a similar Typhoon gun system had been installed on the RNZN's Canterbury-class multirole vessel, also as a replacement for the MSI DS 25M Autsig 25 mm gun.