Australian shipbuilder Austal has signed a deal for the delivery of two more Guardian-class patrol boats (Pacific Patrol Boats) for Timor Leste.
The signing of the contract follows an announcement made last year by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Timor-Leste leader Mari Alkatiri.
The A$29.7m ($22.68m) contract extends the existing Pacific Patrol Boat (PPB) contract and increases the total production from the original 19 to 21 vessels.
Austal was previously awarded the original A$305m ($232.94m) deal in May 2016.
The company has also agreed to provide associated in-service support as part of the agreement.
Austal CEO David Singleton said: “The first PPB is on schedule for launch at the end of May with the construction of the following two vessels already well underway, with the fourth vessel commencing construction in June.
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“Austal has a wealth of experience in shipbuilding, having built over 300 vessels for 55 customers in 100 countries.
“We have utilised that experience and have met all major project milestones in the programme on time.”
Timor Leste is a member of Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Program, while the country’s PPB programme is primarily intended to build inter-governmental co-operation in support of regional security.
Singleton added: “This programme will support 200 direct jobs at Austal and a further 200 indirect jobs in the broader industry.
“This is in addition to several hundred jobs supported at Austal by a number of large commercial export contracts currently under construction and planned for construction at our Henderson shipyard.
“We are working on other export opportunities for the Guardian Class Patrol Boat, thereby helping Australia sustain its sovereign naval shipbuilding industry, which has already delivered over 40 patrol boats to international customers.”