The Australian Government provided two main engines for the Sri Lanka Navy’s Bay-class patrol boat SLNS Mihikatha (P350) on March 14, 2018.
High Commissioner of Australia to Sri Lanka HE Bryce Hutchesson, as the Chief Guest of the ceremony, officially handed over the 2 engine to the Deputy Chief of Staff and Director General Operations of the Navy, Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva at the base pier of SLNS Dakshina in Galle. Mementoes were also exchanged between the two parties to signify the importance of this occasion.
Commander Southern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Kapila Samaraweera, Deputy Area Commander, Commodore Hasitha Gamage, senior naval officers, dignitaries attached to the Australian High Commission to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and naval officers from Australia were also present on the occasion.
SLNS Mihikatha (P350)
SLNS Mihikatha (P350) is one of the two Bay-class patrol boats gifted to the Sri Lankan Navy by Australia.
The vessel was earlier operated by the Customs Marine Unit of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) as ACV Corio Bay (ACV 50).
Corio Bay was transferred to Sri Lanka on 30 March 2014, and the second ship ACV Hervey Bay (ACV 40) was handed over on 3 June that year. Originally renamed as SLNS Oshadi and SLNS Omaya, the patrol boats were recommissioned on 9 July as SLNS Mihikatha and SLNS Rathnadeepa.
Bay-class vessels have a displacement of 134 tons, are 38.2 metres (125 ft) long, have a beam of 7.2 metres (24 ft), and a draught of 2.4 metres (7.9 ft).
The propulsion system consists of two MTU 16V 2000 M70 diesel engines, supplemented by a VosperThornycroft bow thruster. The patrol boats have a maximum speed of 20 knots, and a maximum range of 1,000 nautical miles.
Each vessel is fitted with a 7.62 mm general purpose machine gun, and two Wiltrading Pursuit 640 vessels are carried for boarding operations. The sensor suite consists of a Racal Decca surface search radar operating in the E/F and I bands, and a Wesmar SS 390E dipping sonar. A Bay class vessel has a crew of 12.
The Bay class was built by Austal Ships. The eight ships were delivered over a period of 19 months, beginning in February 1999.
In addition to the Sri Lanka Navy (2) and the Customs Marine Unit of (ACBPS) (4), Bay-class vessels are also operated by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) (2).