Austal to build two additional evolved Cape-class patrol boats for Australia

The Commonwealth of Australia and shipbuilder Austal have reached an agreement for the construction of two additional evolved Cape-class patrol boats for the Australian Navy.


The announcement came as a part of a Heads of Agreement with the aim of establishing a Strategic Shipbuilding Agreement (SSA) between Austal and the Commonwealth. If ultimately signed, a Strategic Shipbuilding Agreement would see Austal selected as the Commonwealth’s strategic shipbuilder at Henderson, Western Australia.

Based on the original 58 metre aluminium monohull design, the evolved Cape-class patrol boats include several enhancements that further extend the capability of the vessel and the fleet. With a crew capacity of a total of 32, the new vessels have connectivity to the outside world, regardless of the operating environment.

The price tag for the vessels is $157 million, an important order for defence to optimize its surface fleet.

Additionally, it is proposed that Austal will construct and deliver the Birdon-designed Landing Craft (Medium) capability to the Australian Army under the Commonwealth’s LAND8710 project.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said the SSA Heads of Agreement was an important first step in developing a head contract framework under which future contracts can be formed for further work in Western Australia.

Furthermore, the Cape-class vessels would provide important job security for Austal’s shipbuilders as the last vessel of the current program moves through the completion and delivery of the final two vessels.

Last month. Austal delivered the sixth of eight evolved Cape-class patrol boats to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

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The Heads of Agreement sets out the key principles and provides a framework for further discussions and other due diligence activities to establish the SSA. 

“Austal has a proud record of delivering fit-for-purpose naval vessels to the CoA. In the past five years alone, we have completed and delivered 24 vessels for the Australia Government and Navy, plus a variety of other vessels for navies around the world,” said Gregg.

“That track record, which is a product of our exceptional design and construction teams, provides Austal with the confidence that we can collaborate with the Commonwealth to transition the Heads of Agreement into a SSA which benefits the naval industrial base in Australia and Australia’s security.”

Austal and the Commonwealth have committed to working towards concluding the formal Strategic Shipbuilding Agreement by the last quarter of CY2024.