Defence’s Evolved Cape Class project has achieved a new milestone, with the second patrol boat launched by shipbuilding prime Austal.
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The second of six next-generation Evolved Cape Class patrol boats to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy has rolled off the production line at Austal’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
The vessel will now receive finishing touches and undergo sea trials before officially being delivered to Navy later this year.
Once operational, the next-generation patrol boats will be deployed for border protection, fisheries and constabulary duties ahead of full operational capability of the Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels.
The remaining four Evolved Cape Class patrol boats are currently under construction, and are scheduled to be delivered at four-month intervals up until late 2023.
The first vessel was delivered in October, and is currently undergoing sea trials.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price welcomed the launch of the second vessel, noting the patrol boats’ contribution to bolstering naval capability and supporting the shipbuilding effort.
“I am proud to see Australian and in particular West Australian industry delivering our future naval capability,” Minister Price said.
“We are also providing significant opportunities to workers both locally and in the broader Australian economy.”
The $334 million project is tipped to directly supports around 400 jobs.
“This ensures continued employment of Australian shipbuilders and provides positive flow-on effects for small and medium Australian businesses, crucial to the success of sovereign naval shipbuilding,” Minister Price added.
Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie said the new vessels would strengthen Australia’s border security and protect sovereignty.
“I was pleased to launch this vessel. Building these vessels here in Western Australia means a stronger defence force that will protect our borders and our national security interests, and create long-term local jobs,” he said.
“We are an island nation and these vessels will play a crucial role in the protection of Australia’s maritime and national security interests.”
[Related: Evolved Cape Class unveiled in WA]