The government today announced it would spend around $350 million to build six new Cape-class patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy.
CAPTION: Australian Defence Vessel Cape Fourcroy alongside HMAS Coonawarra. Photo by Leading Seaman James Whittle.
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The vessels will be built by Western Australian company Austal, securing Australian shipbuilding jobs.
This build is an un-planned, out of sequence addition to the government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
The six new Cape-class boats will grow the patrol boat force to 16 vessels, while the new larger Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels are introduced into service.
Australian Border Force currently operates eight Cape-class patrol boats, while the Navy operates two leased boats.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the new vessels would play an important role in keeping Australia’s borders safe, while Navy’s new capability is brought online.
“These vessels will not only enhance national security, but will provide important economic stimulus and employment continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The ability to build more of these vessels in Australia will deliver Australian industry content of more than 65 per cent, providing significant opportunities for Australian industry and Defence.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the six new patrol boats would be built at Austal’s shipyard in Henderson, Perth.
“This will help to ensure continued employment opportunities for 400 of Austal’s commercial shipbuilders in WA, with flow-down benefits to Austal’s supply chain,” Minister Price said.
“Austal is an Australian industry success story with the company already building variants of the Cape-class patrol boat for international customers including the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
“They are also building the Guardian-class patrol boats in support of the Pacific Patrol Boat Program.”
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