NEW ZEALAND'S NEWEST NAVAL VESSEL TO VISIT TONGA

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (March 22, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Tonga)---The Royal New Zealand naval frigate HMNZ Te Kaha is scheduled to arrive in Tonga Wednesday on her first official overseas visit.

The ship, purposely built for South Pacific waters, is the first of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Class frigates commissioned by the New Zealand Navy.

The HMNZ Te Kaha recently completed a search operation for illegal fishing vessels in the Ross Sea in Antarctica, and now is conducting helicopter operating trials in the tropical waters of the Pacific Islands region.

The multi million dollar ship is equipped with the latest military technology including air defense missiles, an anti-missile defense system, anti-submarine torpedoes and a helicopter.

The 118 meter (390 foot) long frigate will spend four days in Tonga.

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