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Australia launches second Evolved Cape-class patrol boat

Australian Navy second Evolved Cape-class patrol boat launch on March 5, 2022
Photo: Austal

Australian shipbuilder Austal has launched the second of six Evolved Cape-class patrol boats it is building for the Royal Australian Navy at its shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.

The evolved Cape-class units are joining the ten units already in service with the navy and the Australian Border Force. The new boats feature a number of enhancements, while crew accommodation has been increased by 10 people, to now total 32. Also, ‘quality-of-life’ provisions have been enhanced, ensuring those who operate the new boats have WIFI connectivity to the outside world regardless of the operating environment.

The launch of the second unit on March 5 follows 18 months of construction at Austal’s shipyard.

Following its official launch, the 58-meter aluminium monohull vessel will receive finishing touches and undergo sea trials before being delivered to navy later this year.

“I’m proud to say the Evolved Cape-class patrol boat project for the Royal Australian Navy is progressing at pace. We will be handing over the first of class in March, with follow-on vessels delivered every 4 months thereafter,” Austal Limited CEO Paddy Gregg said.

Austal is building the six vessels under a A$324 million, six vessel contract from May 2020. The contract extended the patrol boat program to a total of 18 vessels. This includes eight patrol boats operated by the Australian Border Force and two vessels delivered to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.

Andrew Hastie MP, assistant minister for defense, said the boats were a vital capability that would be used by navy to continue to secure Australia’s borders and protect its sovereignty at sea.

“This is a great day for WA’s defense industry, marking another important milestone in the government’s naval shipbuilding plan – further strengthening our sovereign defense industry capability and delivering the largest regeneration of our naval fleet since the Second World War,” assistant minister Hastie said.

“I was pleased to launch this vessel. Building these vessels here in Western Australia means a stronger defence force that will protect our borders and our national security interests, and create long-term local jobs.”