Austal has been awarded a sustainment contract worth up to $18 million over three years from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for the Cape-class Patrol Boats, Cape Fourcroy and Cape Inscription.
According to the company, this contract will employ eight directly and 20 indirectly in local contractors and Austal’s own facilities in the Cairns area. The sustainment work will be in addition to the work undertaken by Austal for the Australian Border Force and will utilise much of the same experience and capabilities.
Austal is also currently partnered with Fassmer, bidding for the $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Project and has also signed a teaming agreement with ASC Shipbuilding to offer a local Australian shipbuilding solution for the $35 billion Future Frigate Project.
Cape-class patrol boats:
Cape-class is a class of eight large patrol boats operated by the Marine Unit of the Australian Border Force (ABP) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The ships were ordered in 2011 from Austal Ships to replace ABP’s Bay-class patrol boats, and entered service from 2013 onwards.
Following availability issues with the Armidale-class patrol boats, two vessels – ADV Cape Inscription (310) and ADV Cape Fourcroy (320) – were chartered by the RAN from mid-2015.
The vessels are 57.8 metres (190 ft) in length, with a beam of 10.3 metres (34 ft) and a draught of 3 metres (9.8 ft).
They are powered by two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines, providing 6,770 horsepower (5,050 kW) to two propeller shafts. The ships are also fitted with 160-kilowatt (210 hp) bow thruster is also fitted.
The vessels have a maximum speed is 25 knots, a range of 4,000 nm (7,400 km) at 12 knots, and an endurance of 28 days.
The Cape-class vessels are armed with two .50 calibre machine guns, and carries two 7.3-metre (24 ft) Gemini rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) in cradles at the stern, along with a small boat carried amidships.
Each vessel is manned by a crew of 18.
A further two vessels of the class were ordered at the end of 2015 by the National Australia Bank, who will charter the patrol boats to the Department of Defence from completion in 2017.