Australian shipbuilder Austal has cut first steel for the third of six new Cape-class patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The plate-cutting marks the start of construction of Hull 813, which is part of a A$324 million, six vessel contract announced in May this year.
Austal chief executive officer David Singleton said the Henderson, Western Australia shipyard now had five Cape-class patrol boats in various stages of production, for export and local customers.
“This third Cape for the Royal Australian Navy adds to the two already under construction by our experienced team of shipbuilders. Lined up prior to those, we have two more Capes for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, which are on track for delivery in the first half of 2021,” Singleton said.
“It’s great to see the shipyard bustling with work, on both local and export defense contracts that are helping to build Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability.”
The new Cape boats 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 eight patrol boats delivered since 2018.