Austal opens shipbuilding facility for new patrol boats

Australian shipbuilder Austal opened a new shipbuilding facility that will be used for the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) programme.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne MP officially opened the facility at Naval Base, West Australia in a ribbon cutting ceremony on March 8.

The newly-opened 10,500m² construction hub for Pacific Patrol Boats was previously a steel fabrication facility used in the mining boom and will now be used for the construction of 19 patrol boats.

Speaking at the official opening, Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the PPB-R project is estimated to create up to 207 jobs across production, project management, services and support – from Perth Western Australia to Cairns in Queensland.

“The PPB-R project is the first key element in the Federal Government’s Continuous Naval Shipbuilding Plan and Austal is proud to be leading the way by growing Australia’s shipbuilding capability,” he said.

“It is worthy of note that this facility was originally built to service the mining boom and it has now been transformed to support what I anticipate to be a shipbuilding boom here in WA.”

Austal was awarded the A$306 million PPB-R contract in May 2016 and recently completed the Detailed Design Review (DDR), on schedule.

The PPB-R Project comprises the design, construction, delivery, training and sustainment of nineteen 39.5 metre patrol boats – to be gifted by the Commonwealth of Australia to twelve Pacific Island nations as part of Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.

Construction at Austal’s dedicated new PPB-R shipbuilding facility from late April 2017, with deliveries scheduled from 2018 to 2023. Sustainment of the new fleet of vessels will be carried out by Austal from facilities in Cairns, Queensland.