Austal Australia has been 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, meaning this announcement extends Austal’s CCPB programme to a total of 18 vessels, including eight patrol boats operated by the Australian Border Force (ABF) and two currently under construction for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.
Austal’s Chief Executive David Singleton said of the new contract, which is the largest for an Australian vessel construction programme ever awarded to Austal in the Company’s 30 year history, reaffirmed the CAPE class as Australia’s pre-eminent patrol boat platform and represented a clear commitment by the Australian Government to strengthen Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding industry during a challenging global environment brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Since its introduction by the Australian Border Force (ABF) in 2013, the CAPE class has proven to be a high-performing, reliable and effective maritime asset, utilised for a wide variety of constabulary and naval missions, playing a critical role in Australia’s national security,” Mr Singleton said. “With ten CAPES currently in operation with the ABF and RAN, it is a smart, logical step to build upon the existing fleet with additional vessels that will enhance the nation’s ability to protect and secure our maritime borders,” he added.
Crew capacity has been increased by 10 people to 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 vessels, developed during the design and construction of two CCPBs for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. This was an export contract awarded on 16th August 2019 and won with the strong support of the Australian Government and Export Finance Australia, with the vessels currently in an advanced state of construction and scheduled for delivery later in 2020.
Construction of the six CAPES for the RAN will commence immediately at Austal’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia, with deliveries scheduled from September 2021, then successively through to mid-2023. Austal has designed, constructed and sustained the Commonwealth of Australia’s entire fleet of patrol boats since 1998; including the BAY, ARMIDALE and CAPE class operated by the RAN and ABF, comprising 32 vessels.