Austal Australia received contracts to build eight Evolved Cape-class patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy. Image: Austal Australia.
The first vessel of the Evolved Cape-class, ADV Cape Otway (314), was delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in March 2022. Photo: Able Seaman Susan Mossop.
The new Evolved Cape-class patrol boats are expected to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s existing Armidale-class patrol boats. Photo: Austal.
The second Evolved Cape-class vessel, ADV Cape Peron (315), was delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in August 2022. Photo: Austal.
The Evolved Cape-class patrol boat features advanced sustainment intelligence systems. Photo: Austal.
Each Evolved Cape-class vessel is powered by two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines. Photo: Austal.

The Evolved Cape-class patrol boat is an upgraded version of the Cape-class patrol boats built by Australian shipbuilder Austal.

Austal Australia is constructing the Evolved Cape-class patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) at its shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia. The vessels will be deployed to support a range of constabulary and naval missions.

The new boats will include several modifications and enhancements for improved capability compared to the ten standard Cape-class patrol boats that are currently operational with the Navy and Australian Border Force throughout Northern Australia.

The new class of patrol boats is expected to replace the existing Armidale-class patrol boats and further enhance the operational abilities of the RAN at sea. The vessels are planned to be used as interim patrol boats until the commissioning of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels.

Evolved Cape-class patrol boats development details

In April 2020, Austal Australia received a contract worth A$324m ($208.5m) from the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) to design and build six Evolved Cape-class patrol boats.

The RAN received the first vessel of the class, named Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Otway (314), in March 2022. The vessel reached its homeport in Cairns, Queensland, in June of the same year. The second vessel, ADV Cape Peron (315), was delivered to the Navy in August 2022.

The remaining four vessels, namely ADV Cape Naturaliste (316), ADV Cape Capricorn (317), ADV Cape Woolamai (318) and ADV Cape Pillar (319), are expected to be delivered throughout 2023.

Austal Australia received another order worth $124m from the DoD to build two additional Evolved Cape-class patrol boats in April 2022. The vessels are expected to be delivered by 2024.

The vessels will be maintained at the Regional Maintenance Centre North East in Cairns, which was opened in January 2022.

Design and features

Based on an aluminium monohull design, the vessel has an overall length of 57.8m, overall beam of 10.3m and draught of 3m.

The vessel has a crew capacity of 32 individuals and can carry two 7.3m Gemini sea boats. The motion control system includes two 3.25m² Austal roll fins and two 4.5m² trim flaps.

The vessel can achieve a maximum speed of 25k and sail for more than 4,000 nautical miles (12,874km) at a speed of 12k.

It is equipped with improved life systems and advanced sustainment intelligence systems to enhance the fighting capabilities of the Navy.

Communication and sensors

The vessels are integrated with communication equipment to enable secure and non-secure voice and data transmission over very high frequency (VHF), ultra-high frequency (UHF), satellite communication (SATCOM) and sea boat’s situational awareness systems.

The integrated bridge system for the navigation of the Evolved Cape-class patrol boat comprises two electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS), two Gyro compass, secure automatic information system (AIS) transponders, radars, two differential global positioning systems (DGPS), an engineering operational sequencing system (EOSS), and voyage data recorders (VDR).

Engine and propulsion details

The vessels are powered by two Caterpillar 3516C V-16, four-stroke-cycle diesel engines, which produce 2,525KW of energy each at 1,800rpm.

The engine features a 170mm (6.6in) bore and 215mm (8.46in) stroke with a lube oil system refill capacity of 779.8l.

The sustainable design of the engine includes a closed crankcase ventilation system and redesigned piston, which enhances efficiency and reduces emissions. The optimal nozzle geometry and electronic injection control of the engine enable improved fuel delivery.

The engine is also compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Marine Tier 3/ International Maritime Organization (IMO) Tier II emissions standards.

The vessel has two ZF 9055A gearboxes, two fixed pitch propellers and an HRP 2001TT (160kW) bow thruster to aid propulsion.