Timor Leste is planning to procure two additional Guardian-class Pacific Patrol Boats (PPB) from Australian shipbuilder, Austal.
This was announced by Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull and Timor-Leste Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri at the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Perth on Nov. 3, after visiting Austal’s dedicated patrol boat facility earlier that day.
When contracted this will increase the total production quantity to 21 from the 19 already committed. Once delivered, these vessels will help support Timor-Leste’s sovereign capability to patrol and secure its maritime borders.
“The PPB program is intended to aid regional security in the South Pacific by helping to secure the Timor Leste maritime border and represents an example of defence diplomacy fostering close relations between countries in the Asia-Pacific,” Austal CEO David Singleton said.
“The first of the current order of Guardian Class patrol boats is already well into its construction phase and is running on time and on budget. Handover of the first vessel is projected to be in the third quarter of CY 2018,” Mr Singleton said.
“We are working on other export opportunities for the Guardian Class patrol boat thereby helping Australia sustain its sovereign naval shipbuilding industry which has already delivered over 40 Patrol Boats to international customers,” Mr Singleton said.
The Pacific Patrol Boat contract was awarded to Austal in May, 2016 and is worth $305m for the original 19 vessels and associated in service support.
These 39.5 metre, steel-hulled vessels will be delivered to 13 nations from late 2018 as part of Australia’s $2 billion commitment to regional maritime security through the Pacific Maritime Security Program. The program is called Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program (PPBR).
The all new Pacific Patrol Boat is based on Austal’s proven patrol boat design platform and 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 boats are currently under construction by Austal, with the keel for the first vessel laid on 31 July 2017. Based on current build schedules, delivery of Timor-Leste’s vessels will occur in June and September 2023.
Austal has separately partnered with Fassmer of Germany for the Commonwealth of Australia’s $3.5 Billion Offshore Patrol Vessel program and is in a teaming agreement with ASC to compete for the build of the $35 Billion Future Frigate Program.