Government orders six new Cape-class for Navy

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.


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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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

3 thoughts on “Government orders six new Cape-class for Navy

  • 04/05/2020 at 4:28 pm

    This is good news for Austal workers and WA in general.
    The real puzzling question is why do Australian Boarder Force (ABF) and the RAN operate in what seems to be the same environment requiring the same boats?
    Was it not the practice in the past to have an embarked ABF Officer or two for constabulary duties?
    Is this just another example of duplication and inefficiency? Or can’t the RAN recruit and keep enough crews to keep the boats at sea? Or is it just another turf war/empire building example of the bureaucrats in Canberra?
    Someone with insider knowledge “please explain” to this dedicated land lover. (who got sea sick, on a RAAF Marine Rescue Boat off Newcastle, in the Brisbane River on an old LCH and HMAS Tobroken off Moreton Island)

  • 04/05/2020 at 5:21 am

    My apologies for errors in the magazine article title. Should read ‘Defence considers more Cape Class to fill capability gap’

  • 03/05/2020 at 9:25 pm

    Page 4 of Defence Technology Review February 2020 edition has an article with title: “Defence comsiders more Cape Class fill capability gap”

    Arafura class has bigger draught than Armidale class and so cannot access certain areas that Armidales currently operate in. Cape class will enable these areas to be patrolled.

    The order has been touted by the government as a lifeline for Austal rather than the need to fill a capability gap arising from the introduction of OPV class vessels..


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