Australian shipbuilder, Austal has laid the keel of the first of six new Cape Class Patrol Boats being built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The vessels are being built by Austal at its Henderson, Western Australia facility. The six new vessels will grow the RAN’s patrol boat force to 16 vessels, while the new larger Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) are introduced into service.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the Morrison Government is investing $350 million on the build program.
“This investment comes on top of this Government’s significant investment towards the build of up to 45 naval vessels at the Henderson Maritime Precinct,” Minister Reynolds said. “The six new Cape Class Patrol Boats will be built with a number of enhancements, improving operational capability and crew capacity compared to the vessels already operated by both the Navy and the Australian Border Force. They will replace the Armidale Class and be utilised by the Navy as an interim patrol platform until the commissioning of the Offshore Patrol Vessels.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the construction of these boats at Austal’s Henderson shipyard shows the Morrison Government’s commitment to the shipbuilding industry in Western Australia.
“The laying of the keel not only initiates the formal construction phase of the build, it also means job creation here in Perth is well underway,” Minister Price said. “This is welcome relief for the local and national economy during a period of economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. The construction of these boats will provide work for 400 of Austal’s commercial shipbuilders in WA, as well as more than 1,200 workers in the broader Australian supply chain.”
The first of these new vessels are scheduled for acceptance and handover to Navy in September 2021, with subsequent vessels being delivered through to March 2023.
Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (CCPBs)
Earlier this year, Austal Australia was awarded a A$324 million contract to design and construct six evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (CCPBs) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The six new vessels, to be constructed at Austal’s Henderson shipyard in Western Australia, 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).
This was the largest contract for an Australian vessel construction program ever awarded to Austal in the Company’s 30-year history.
The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard Capes (Hulls 398 and 399) are currently in an advanced state of construction and are scheduled for delivery later in 2020. Construction of the six Capes for the RAN has also been commenced at Austal Australia’s Henderson, Western Australia, shipyard with deliveries scheduled from September 2021, then successively through to mid-2023.
Austal’s Cape-class patrol boat is a 58 metre aluminium monohull vessel, designed to perform border protection and maritime security tasks, with a top speed of 26 knots and a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles. With a crew of 22, the original Cape-class vessel is capable of undertaking 28 day patrols in (up to) sea state 4 and the ability to launch two boats simultaneously.
The new evolved CCPBs can accommodate an additional crew of 10 for a total of 32 and quality-of-life provisions have been enhanced, ensuring those who operate the new Capes have connectivity to the outside world regardless of the operating environment. Further improvements have been incorporated into the new RAN Cape design, developed during the design and construction of two Cape-class patrol boats for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard; an export contract awarded on 16th August 2019 and won with the strong support of the Australian Government and Export Finance Australia.