The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) took delivery of its first Guardian Class Patrol Boat (GCPB), HMPNGS Ted Diro (P401), on Nov. 30.
Australian shipbuilder, Austal delivered the vessel to the Australian Department of Defence and then in a handover ceremony, presented the vessel to the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government.
HMPNGS Ted Diro is the first of 21 GCPBs to be gifted by Australia to 12 Pacific Island Nations and Timor-Leste under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (SEA3036) Project of the Commonwealth’s Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP).
“Austal are proud to deliver this program for the Commonwealth of Australia. The Guardian Class has brought together the industry-leading skills of over 200 Austal employees, and estimated to have employed an additional 200 people indirectly through the design, construction and sustainment process”, said David Singleton, CEO of Austal.
“Over the past six weeks, we have had the Ted Diro crew from the PNG Navy at Austal training on how to use and maintain the new vessels. Their positive feedback on the greater capability, amenity and operability of the Guardian Class has been fantastic. We look forward to show casing the new vessels to the other Pacific Island nations over the life of the 21 vessel program through to 2023”.
Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (SEA3036) Project
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (SEA3036) Project is part of the Commonwealth’s Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP) that aims to enhance practical maritime security cooperation across the South Pacific. The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program broadens and further strengthens the region’s capability to respond to issues such fisheries protection, trans-national crime, and search and rescue through the provision of patrol boats to Pacific Island nations.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program (PPBR) comprises 21 x 39.5m steel hull vessels designed and constructed by Austal for delivery to 13 Pacific Island nations from late 2018 to 2023, including;
+ Papua New Guinea
+ Federated States of Micronesia
+ Solomon Islands
+ Cook Islands
+ Marshall Islands
+ Timor Leste
The all new Guardian Class Pacific Patrol Boat is based on Austal’s proven patrol boat design platform, originally developed for the Australian Customs Service (now Australian Border Force) as the Bay Class Patrol Boat some 20 years ago. Since 1998, Austal has delivered 32 patrol boats to the Commonwealth – representing Australia’s entire border patrol capability. Austal has delivered or has orders for a total of 97 patrol boats for Australia and around the world.
The vessel is 39.5 metres long with a beam of 8 metres and a loaded draft of 2.5 metres. It is capable of traveling at 20 knots and at 12 knots possesses a 3,000 nautical mile range. Each vessel can accommodate 23 people.
The Pacific Patrol Boat contract was awarded to Austal in May, 2016 and is valued at AU$305 million for the original 19 vessels associated in service support. A further contract was awarded in April, 2018 for two additional vessels valued at AU$29.7 million.
The 21 Guardian Class vessels are under construction at Austal’s dedicated Pacific Patrol Boat Production Facility at Naval Base, in Western Australia and will be supported by Austal’s service centre located in Cairns, Queensland.
The GCPB program is now in a full rate of production, with the second vessel, which is destined for Tuvalu, successfully launched on Monday with an additional three vessels in various stages of construction. Austal is also looking at export opportunities for the GCPB.