The Australian Government has placed a new order with Austal Australia to procure an additional Guardian-Class Pacific patrol boat (GCPPB).

The estimated value of the new order is approximately $9.6m (A$15.2m).

The associated construction work will be carried out at the company’s shipyard in Western Australia.

Delivery of this additional vessel is expected to take place by September 2024.

The 39.5m-long steel hull patrol vessel is being ordered as part of the Australian Department of Defence’s (DoD) Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project SEA3036-1.

The initial contract to procure 19 Guardian-class patrol vessels, under the SEA3036-1 project, was awarded to Austal in 2016. It also included an additional option for two vessels.

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The company has already handed over the first 15 GCPPBs to 11 Pacific Island countries that fall under Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Programme.

The nations include Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and

Tonga received the first and second vessel from Australia in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The company is anticipating delivering two more vessels to Timor-Leste by next year.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said: “The steel hull Guardian has proven to be an exceptionally capable patrol boat in a short period of time, with 15 delivered to date and operating throughout the South Pacific.

“This additional vessel will further enhance our Pacific Island neighbours’ capability and regional security, and Australia’s naval shipbuilding capability.

“The Austal Australia team are understandably very proud of the 15 Guardians delivered to date and are pleased to receive an additional order for this effective naval platform, designed and constructed right here in Western Australia, with the help of over 300 suppliers.”