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Australia starts construction of new Cape-class patrol vessel

Photo: Austal

Australian shipbuilder Austal announced the official start of construction of the second of six new Cape-class patrol vessels for the Royal Australian Navy with a “steel-cutting” ceremony on July 21.

The plate cutting of the second vessel follows the award of the A$324 million (approx. US$ 209 million at the time of the announcement) contract for six “evolved” Cape-class patrol boats, announced in May this year by the Australian defense ministry.

Austal CEO David Singleton said the plate cutting of the second new Cape for the RAN was completed less than 12 weeks after the contract announcement.

“With a hot production line, already constructing two Capes for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, our shipbuilders have quickly progressed to cutting metal on the second of six Capes for the Navy,” Singleton said.

Based on Austal’s 58 meter 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.

Austal is also delivering 21 Guardian-class patrol boats for 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor Leste under the SEA3036-1 Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, with six patrol boats delivered since 2018.

Austal photo of the steel-cutting ceremony for Hull 812