Britton Maritime Systems to Build 12 Gemini Seaboats for Royal Australian Navy’s New Cape-class Patrol Boats

Britton Maritime Systems has been awarded a $9 million contract to build 12 Gemini seaboats for Royal Australian Navy’s newest Cape-class patrol boats.

The contract includes spare parts, sustainment, training and documentation, as well as options for additional boats. Gemini seaboats are already in service with the RAN’s current fleet of Cape-class patrol boats.

Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm, Head of maritime systems at Australian Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), said the contract was another example of Australian industry’s ability to support the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.

“Defence is undertaking the largest regeneration of the Royal Australian Navy since World War II, with more than 70 naval vessels to be built in Australia,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said. “Seaboats are critical to the operation of patrol boats as they provide the insertion capability required for naval boarding and landing parties.”

“The contract with Britton Maritime Systems will have two seaboats fitted to each of the six evolved Cape-class patrol boats currently under construction at the Austal Shipyard in Western Australia,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said. “The seaboats will be constructed in Australia while also utilising a vast local SME support network stretching from the east coast to the west coast.”

Navy veteran and Britton Maritime Systems’ chief executive officer Steve Britton said the company had 34 years of experience and had been supplying and repairing Navy vessels since 1987.

“It’s great to see Australian industry recognised. The vessel build is a Mark II of the current in-service vessels, utilising state-of-the-art twin 175HP diesel outboard engines by Mercury Marine and the most advanced shock mitigation seating on the market from Shoxs (Allsalt Maritime),” he said.

“Britton Maritime Systems is a long-time provider to the ADF and Australian Border Force. We design, manufacture and sustain a wide range of products such as fire pumps, underwater navigation systems, vessel arrestor systems, USVs and TruLink wireless communications systems for RAAF. Additionally, we have an entire support system throughout Australia and the Pacific.”

In 2020, 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, being 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).

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.

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