The Australian Government is investing in a programme for the production of six new Cape Class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

With an investment of approximately A$350m, a total of six vessels will be built by Western Australian company Austal.

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This will secure shipbuilding jobs in the country while maintaining strong border protection.

At present, the Australian Border Force operates eight Cape Class Patrol Boats and the navy operates two leased Cape Class vessels.

Once delivered, the six new Cape Class Patrol Boats will expand the patrol boat force to 16 vessels.

The new larger Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) will simultaneously be introduced into service.

The new vessels are aimed at keeping the country’s borders safe.

Australia Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “These vessels will not only enhance national security, but will provide important economic stimulus and employment continuity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The ability to build more of these vessels in Australia will deliver Australian Industry Content of more than 65%, providing significant opportunities for Australian industry and defence, as well as more than 1,200 workers in the broader Australian supply chain.”

Construction of the new patrol boats will be carried out at Austal’s shipyard located in Henderson, Perth.

Australia Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “This will help to ensure continued employment opportunities for 400 of Austal’s commercial shipbuilders in WA, with flow down benefits to Austal’s supply chain.

“Austal is an Australian industry success story, with the company already building variants of the Cape Class Patrol Boat for international customers, including the government of Trinidad and Tobago.

“They are also building the Guardian Class Patrol Boats in support of the Morrison Government’s Pacific Patrol Boat programme.”