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Solomon Islands receives second Guardian-class patrol boat

Guardian-class patrol boat Taro
RSIPV Taro hand over ceremony on May 7, 2021. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

Australia handed over the second Guardian-class patrol boat to Solomon Islands in a ceremony on May 7 at Austal’s Henderson shipyard.

While it is the second boat for Solomon Islands, the future RSIPV Taro is the tenth vessel built under Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Program. The program will see 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste receive 21 boats in the class.

The High Commissioner for Solomon Islands Robert Sisilo accepted RSIPV Taro on behalf of the Solomon Islands government. The first vessel to be gifted to Solomon Islands, RSIPV Gizo, was delivered in November 2019.

Head of Navy Engineering, Rear Admiral Katherine Richards, AM, CSC, RAN said Australia and Solomon Islands have a long history of close security cooperation, based on a shared vision for a secure and prosperous Pacific.

“The new Guardian-class Patrol Boats play an important role in tackling our shared regional security challenges, and the delivery of RSIPV Taro is a significant milestone,” Rear Admiral Richards said.

“We are better positioned to respond to maritime threats, from illegal fishing to transnational crime by working together, coordinating closely and building our interoperability.”

The 39.5-meter steel monohull patrol boats are being designed, built and delivered by the company under two contracts signed with the Australian government in 2016 and 2018. The two contracts are worth a combined A$335 million.

The steel monohulls are based on a design platform that has included the 38 meter Bay-class, 56 meter Armidale-class and 58 meter Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.