Austal has launched the first of six stop-gap patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy.
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An Evolved Cape Class patrol boat has been unveiled at the Austal Ships shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
The vessel is the first of six to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy, set to replace the Armidale Class fleet ahead of the delivery of the next-generation Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels as part of Project SEA 1180.
“The Evolved Cape Class patrol boats will ensure the Royal Australian Navy is well-equipped to keep Australia’s borders safe,” Head Maritime Systems Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm said.
“With all six Evolved Cape Class patrol boats to be built in WA, we are continuing to strengthen Australia’s naval capability while supporting local jobs.”
The 58-metre-long boats are expected to improve operational capability and crew capacity.
- 30mm stabilised main gun;
- two x 12.7mm remote weapons stations for defence against SWARM threats;
- short range anti surface missile system (provision);
- operations room;
- UAV flight deck (VERTREP/transfer) – for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR); and
- multi-mission bay for UAV, UUV or SF detachments – including workshop/hangar space.
Austal has commenced construction of the remaining five vessels, with the first scheduled for delivery early next year.
The Evolved Cape Class boats are set to be in service until 2030, when the Arafura Class are expected to reach final operational capability.
The first two Arafura OPVs are being constructed by ASC in Osborne, South Australia, with Lürssen Australia and Civmec building the remaining vessels in Henderson, WA.
[Related: Defence opens Arafura OPV hub]