The first in a series of 21 Guardian-class Pacific Patrol Boats (PPB-R) from the Australian Government’s A$90bn ($67.6bn) continuous shipbuilding programme has been launched for delivery to Papua New Guinea in late-October.
Shipbuilding company Austal launched the vessel from Henderson in Western Australia roughly two years after the initial contract was awarded to the company in May 2016.
The original contract, worth approximately A$305m ($229.3m), included an order for 19 vessels along with the provision of associated in-service support.
A second contract valued at A$29.7m ($22.33m) was subsequently awarded in April for the development of two additional Guardian-class PPB-R units.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “The project, which is worth around A$335m ($251.9m), is on time and on budget.
“This particular boat will be gifted to Papua New Guinea in late-October 2018 and is the first of 21 boats to be gifted to 12 Pacific Island countries and East Timor as part of the Pacific Maritime Security Program.”
“Austal has advised the Guardian-class Patrol Boat Project supports around 400 jobs, either directly or through the supply chain.”
Construction work on the second and third vessels is currently being carried out at Austal’s manufacturing facility in the suburb of Naval Base, near Henderson.
The company is designing and building the 21 39.5m-long steel hull vessels for delivery to 13 Pacific Island nations between the end of this year and 2023.
Each of the new boats features a beam of 8m and a loaded draft of 2.5m.
They are capable of travelling at speeds of up to 20k and can accommodate 23 people each.