Australian shipbuilder Austal has launched the first of six “evolved” Cape-class patrol boats built for the Royal Australian Navy.
As informed, the launching ceremony took place at the Austal Ships shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
Austal has commenced construction on the remaining five boats, the first of which is expected to be accepted by the navy early next year.
The 58-meter long boats are being built with a number of enhancements, improving operational capability and crew capacity compared to the vessels already operated by the navy and Australian Border Force.
Crew capacity has been increased by 10 people, to now total of 32 and quality-of-life provisions have been enhanced, ensuring those who operate the new Capes have connectivity to the outside world regardless of the operating environment. Further improvements have been incorporated into the new RAN Cape design, developed during the design and construction of two Cape-class patrol boats for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard.
“The Evolved Cape-class patrol boats will ensure the Royal Australian Navy is well-equipped to keep Australia’s borders safe,” Rear Admiral Wendy 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 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 Australian Navy ordered the six vessels back in 2020. The A$324 million ($231 million) contract is the largest contract for an Australian vessel construction program ever awarded to Austal in the company’s 30-year history.