One of six new Navy defence vessels is being built in Western Australia as part of Australia’s latest protections against security threats.
It is part of the federal government’s $334 million defense package aiming to strengthen Australia’s borders.
“We can’t just pretend the world is going to continue on the way it has and the war in Ukraine has demonstrated that,” Assistant Minister for Defense Andrew Hastie said.
The 58m boat is being built at the Austal shipping yard in the Perth suburb of Henderson.
The Evolved Cape Class Patrol Boats will be used by the Navy for border protection, fisheries and constabulary duties until the Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels enter service.
All six boats are currently under construction, the first vessel was launched last October and is currently undergoing sea trials.
“The average build time is just about 18 months to build one of these vessels, something we are very proud of to sign a contract for this vessel and deliver the first in two years,” Austal CEO Padd Gregg said.
The new vessel is designed to patrol the same waters around the Coral Sea where the Chinese Navy used a laser to attack a Royal Australian Air Force plane in February.
“That’s a reminder we have to be vigilant, we have to be prepared to survey and patrol our approaches and defend our sovereignty and that’s why we need these patrol boats,” Mr Hastie said.
The new boats will be delivered to the Navy every four months, with the fleet expected to be finished and in the water by the end of 2023.
About Evolved Cape Class
The 58 meters boat is being built at the Austal shipping yard in the Perth suburb of Henderson. Each vessel is 57.8 meters in length, with a beam of 10.3 meters and a draught of 3 meters. Propulsion machinery consists of two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines, providing 5,050 kiloWatts to two propeller shafts. A 160 kiloWatts bow thruster is also fitted. The maximum speed is 25 knots, with a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 12 knots and an endurance of 28 days.
Each vessel has a crew of 18, and two crew groups are assigned to each vessel, alternating between operating the patrol boat and shore duties to ensure maximum vessel availability. Each Cape-class vessel is armed with two 50 calibre machine guns and carries two 7.3 meters Gemini RHIB interception craft in cradles at the stern, along with a small boat carried amidships.
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