Austal Australia has delivered the 15th Guardian-class patrol boat (GCPB) Te Kukupa II to the Australian Department of Defence.
As disclosed. the vessel was then gifted to the Cook Islands at a certificate signing ceremony held on 26 May at Austal’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
The new Guardian-class patrol boat, which was launched in January this year, will replace the original Te Kukupa, a Pacific-class patrol boat gifted to the Cook Islands in 1989 and recently de-commissioned, under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg noted the new vessel was the second of five Guardian-class patrol boats to be delivered to the Commonwealth of Australia in CY2022.
“We are well on track to deliver five, forty metre Guardians this calendar year, … a great demonstration of our collective industry and team’s capability and productivity in steel shipbuilding,” Gregg said.
The vessels are faster than the previous/current Pacific-class patrol boats, with improved sea keeping, better amenities, and an enhanced mission capability, including an integrated RHIB stern launch and recovery system.
In the future, the boats will carry out border patrols, regional policing, search and rescue, and many other operations domestically and internationally.
To remind, the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project was awarded to Austal Australia in May 2016, with an additional contract option awarded in April 2018, taking the program to 21 vessels, valued at more than A$335 million.
Twelve Pacific Island nations including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste will receive the vessels through 2023.