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Austal has launched Cape Leveque, the sixth of eight Cape-class patrol boats (CCPB) for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), at the company’s Australian defence facility in Henderson, Western Australia.

Built as part of a $330m contract awarded in August 2011 to design, construct and provide through-life support, the 58m-long patrol boats are expected to replace the ACBPS’s Bay-class vessels.

Deliveries of eight aluminium monohulls started in March 2013 and will finish in August 2015.

The vessels, which will offer greater range, endurance and flexibility in response to maritime security threats, will have a maximum cruising speed of 25k and a range of 4,000nm at 12kt.

"The CCPB programme continues at pace."

Austal Australia president Graham Backhouse said: "The CCPB programme continues at pace and continues to demonstrate Austal’s capabilities of delivering in accordance with requirements on time and on budget."

Capable of undertaking 28-day patrols and launching two tender response vessels simultaneously, CCPB can be deployed to identify, track and intercept a broad range of maritime domain threats and accumulate intelligence and store proofs.

Cape Leveque will be used for counter people, drug and weapons smuggling missions, to apprehend foreign fishing vessels and monitor environmental pollution. It will also assist in the management of offshore nature reserves and marine parks.

Image: Cape Leveque during its launch at Austal’s Australian defence facility. Photo: courtesy of Austal.