Austal Australia has ‘cut metal’ on the third of six new Cape-class patrol boats to be constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the company announced.
The plate-cutting marks the start of construction of Hull 813, part of a A$324 million, six vessel contract announced on 1 May 2020 by the Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price.
The six new vessels will add to the RAN’s existing fleet of two CCPB’s delivered in 2017 and further extend Austal’s Cape-class Patrol Boat program to a total of 18 vessels. This includes eight patrol boats operated by the Australian Border Force (ABF) and two currently under construction for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG).
Austal CEO David Singleton said the Henderson, Western Australia shipyard now had five Cape-class Patrol Boats in various stages of production, for export and local customers.
“This third Cape for the Royal Australian Navy adds to the two already under construction by our experienced team of shipbuilders. Lined up prior to those, we have two more Capes for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, which are on track for delivery in the first half of 2021,” Mr Singleton said. “It’s great to see the shipyard bustling with work, on both local and export defence contracts that are helping to build Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability. We’re very proud of the demonstrated capability and productivity of our Australian operations to manage multiple projects – supported on every vessel by our proven Australian supply chain.”
Based on Austal’s proven 58 metre aluminium monohull patrol boat design, the new RAN Capes include a number of enhancements that further extend the capability of the vessel and the fleet. Crew accommodation has been increased by 10 people, to now total 32 and ‘quality-of-life’ provisions have been enhanced, ensuring those who operate the new Capes have WIFI connectivity to the outside world regardless of the operating environment.
Delivery of the first of six Capes, Hull 811, is scheduled in September 2021 with subsequent deliveries of remaining vessels through to mid-2023.
Austal is also delivering 21 Guardian-class Patrol Boats for 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor Leste under the SEA3036-1 Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, with six patrol boats delivered since 2018. Austal provides in-service support to both the Cape and Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleets through service centres located in Henderson, Western Australia; Cairns, Queensland; and Darwin, Northern Territory.