Australian shipbuilder Austal has launched the first of six Evolved Cape-class patrol boats it is building for the Royal Australian Navy at its Henderson yard in Western Australia.
Head of Maritime Systems, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm, said the vessels would replace the Navy’s Armidale-class patrol boats and would be used as interim patrol platforms until the commissioning of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels.
“The Evolved Cape-class patrol boats will ensure the Royal Australian Navy is well-equipped to keep Australia’s borders safe,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.
“With all six Evolved Cape-class patrol boats to be built in WA, we are continuing to strengthen Australia’s naval capability while supporting local jobs.”
The new Capes will be joining the original ten units already in service with the navy and the Australian Border Force.
Austal has started construction on the remaining five boats, the first of which is expected to be accepted by the navy early next year. Delivery of the first unit had initially been expected to take place in September 2021, with all six delivered by mid-2023. The service has not provided a new timeline for the delivery of the boats.
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.