The Australian Government has called for tenders for construction of 21 steel-hulled replacement patrol vessels as part of the country's continued commitment to maritime security in the Pacific region.
The request for tender (RFT) for the Australian-made patrol boats worth $594m, is part of the Pacific Maritime Security Programme, Project SEA3036 Phase I.
This project also includes through life sustainment and personnel costs estimated at $1.38bn over 30 years.
According to the RFT, the 40m-long boats should be capable of operating to top of Sea State Four, accommodate 19 crew with 23 berths, cruise at speeds in excess of 20k with a mission duration of 20 days.
Additional requirements include that the vessels have a range of greater than 2,500nm at 12k with 20% burnable fuel remaining.
The new Australian-made vessels will also have greater seakeeping ability, habitability and endurance, and will assist Pacific Island countries to continue to take an active part in securing their own extensive Exclusive Economic Zones.
Designed and constructed to commercial standards, the patrol boats are required to be simple and cost-effective to own, operate and maintain; while they will not be fitted with weapon systems, but can be brought to military standard.
Further decisions relating to this project are likely to be made known by the end of this year.
The government has offered the replacement patrol boats to all current participating states including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Samoa, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, as well as new member Timor-Leste.