Austal Australia has marked the start of construction on the third Cape-class patrol boat for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with a metal plate cutting.

Hull 813 is the third ship of the six boats to be constructed for the RAN.

Austal is currently under a A$324m contract to build six Cape-class patrol boats, which was announced in May this year.

The shipyard now has five Cape-class patrol boats under different stages of production for local and export customers.

Austal CEO David Singleton said: “This third Cape for the Royal Australian Navy adds to the two already under construction by our experienced team of shipbuilders.

“Lined up prior to those, we have two more Capes for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, which are on track for delivery in the first half of 2021.

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“It is great to see the shipyard bustling with work, on both local and export defence contracts that are helping to build Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability.

“We are very proud of the demonstrated capability and productivity of our Australian operations to manage multiple projects, supported on every vessel by our proven Australian supply chain.”

In July this year, the Australian Department of Defence announced the start of construction on the RAN’s first new Cape-class patrol boat.

After the delivery, the six new vessels will increase the count of patrol boats to 16.

The first ship of the Cape-class, Hull 811, is expected to be delivered in September next year, while the other ships will be delivered by mid-2023.

In August last year, Austal received a contract to build two Cape-class patrol boats (CCPB) for the Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago (GoRTT).