Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne has officially opened shipbuilding company Austal's new pacific patrol boat replacement (PPB-R) shipbuilding facility.

The new 10,500m² facility is located at the Naval Base in Western Australia, and marks the beginning of the company’s naval shipbuilding capability.

Austal chief executive officer David Singleton said that the A$306m ($231.5m) PPB-R project is estimated to open new opportunities for up to 207 jobs in project management, production, services and support, from Perth in Western Australia to Cairns in Queensland.

Singleton said: “The PPB-R project is the first key element in the Federal Government’s continuous naval shipbuilding plan, and Austal is proud to be leading the way by growing Australia’s shipbuilding capability.

“It is worthy of note that this facility was originally built to service the mining boom and it has now been transformed to support what I anticipate to be a shipbuilding boom here in Western Australia.”

"The PPB-R project is the first key element in the Federal Government’s continuous naval shipbuilding plan, and Austal is proud to be leading the way."

Austal secured the PPB-R contract in May and has recently concluded the detailed design review (DDR) for the project on schedule.

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The scope of the PPB-R project involves the design, development, supply, training and sustainment of 19 patrol boat units, each 39.5m in length.

The patrol boats will be gifted by the Commonwealth of Australia to twelve countries across the Pacific Islands as part of Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Programme.

Austal is expected to begin construction of its design at the company’s new PPB-R shipbuilding facility in late April, while deliveries are scheduled to be carried out from next year to 2023.

Image: Austal opens new PPB-R shipbuilding facility in Naval Base, Western Australia. Photo: courtesy of Austal.