ADV Cape Pillar, the sixth of eight Evolved Cape Class patrol boats, has been delivered to the Royal Australian Navy by Australian-based shipbuilder Austal Limited.
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The vessel has been officially accepted by the Commonwealth of Australia at Austal’s Henderson shipyard in Western Australia.
The Cape Pillar 58-metre aluminium monohull patrol boat is the third Evolved Cape Class patrol boat delivered to RAN this year.
The first five Evolved Cape Class patrol boats – Cape Otway, Cape Peron, Cape Naturaliste, Cape Capricorn, and Cape Woolamai – were delivered within an 18-month period from March 2022.
“The Austal Australia team, collaborating with the Department of Defence, the Royal Australian Navy, and our valued supply chain partners, are very clearly demonstrating what the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise is capable of; delivering sovereign capability for Australia,” according to Austal Limited chief executive officer Paddy Gregg.
“ADV Cape Pillar is the sixth Evolved Cape Class patrol boat Austal delivered in just over 18 months, effectively providing a new capability for the Royal Australian Navy every three months.
“Austal is on track to deliver the remaining two Evolved Cape Class patrol boats currently under construction at Henderson, Western Australia in 2024; completing the fleet of eight vessels that are enhancing Australia’s maritime security.”
Austal Australia continues to employ approximately 400 people directly in Western Australia and is engaging more than 300 supply chain partners across Australia, to deliver the Evolved Cape Class Patrol Boat Project SEA 1445-1 for the Royal Australian Navy, Gregg said.
The Evolved Capes are expected to be utilised as a high-performance and effective maritime asset in constabulary and naval missions, as well as playing a critical role in Australia’s national security,
Each craft, which began construction in May 2020, have larger amenities to accommodate up to 32 people, improved quality of life systems, and advanced sustainment intelligence systems.
In-service support for the Cape, Evolved Cape and Guardian Class patrol boat fleets operated by the Australian Border Force, Royal Australian Navy, and Pacific Island nations is provided by Austal Australia through dedicated service centres located in Henderson, Western Australia; Cairns, Queensland; and Darwin, Northern Territory.
Austal Australia is also contracted to deliver 22 steel Guardian Class patrol boats to the Commonwealth of Australia under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1) and has delivered 17 vessels since 2018.
“The next opportunity is the Army’s independent littoral manoeuvre vessel (Army Landing Craft),” Gregg said during the Austal Annual Report 2023 conference earlier this year.
“Austal is seeking to establish its position as the ultimate sovereign Defence prime contractor in Australia, and we continue to assess inorganic and acquisition opportunities in the sector and what the defence precinct post the review’s outcomes will yield.”