The Australian Government has delivered a Guardian-class patrol boat to the Solomon Islands.
The RSIPV Gizo vessel is the fifth of the Guardian-class built and delivered by Austal under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) project.
It was handed over during a ceremony at Austal Australia’s Henderson shipyard.
Austal CEO David Singleton said: “Today’s delivery of Guardian Class Patrol Boat number five highlights Austal’s clear strength in designing and constructing multiple naval vessels on-time and on budget.
“Faster, with improved seakeeping, better amenities and an enhanced mission capability, including the integrated stern launch and recovery, the Guardian Class Patrol Boats provide our neighbours with a much improved naval asset to carry out border patrols, regional policing, search and rescue and many other operations.”
The company was awarded the PPB-R contract in May 2016 and an additional contract option in April 2018.
Australia’s boat replacement programme involves a total of 21 vessels and will run until 2023.
The government will gift the vessels to 12 Pacific Island countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Cook Islands, Tonga, Solomon Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, Samoa, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Timor Leste and Vanuatu.
The project is part of Australia’s pacific maritime security programme and is intended to enhance security in the exclusive economic zones of the South Pacific region.
The 39.5m patrol boat has an overall beam of 8m and a cargo deck area of 16m².
Royal Solomon Islands Police Force will operate two Guardian-class patrol boats. The RSIPV Gizo will replace the existing RSIPV Lata.
In August, Australia handed over a Guardian-class vessel to Samoa.