Australia invests AUD350 million for new patrol boats

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The Australian government is investing around AUD350 million for the build program of six new Cape Class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Department of Defence said.

The patrol boats will be built by Western Australian company Austal. The project aims to secure Australian shipbuilding jobs, while maintaining strong border protection.

“The Australian Border Force currently operates eight Cape Class Patrol Boats, while the Navy operates two leased Cape Class,” the Australian Department of Defence said.

It added that the six new Cape Class Patrol Boats will grow the patrol boat force to 16 vessels, while the new larger Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels are introduced into service.

“These vessels will not only enhance national security, but will provide important economic stimulus and employment continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds. “The ability to build more of these vessels in Australia will deliver Australian Industry Content of more than 65 per cent, providing significant opportunities for Australian industry and Defence, as well as more than 1,200 workers in the broader Australian supply chain.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said “this will help to ensure continued employment opportunities for 400 of Austal’s commercial shipbuilders in WA, with flow down benefits to Austal’s supply chain.”

“Austal is an Australian industry success story with the company already building variants of the Cape Class Patrol Boat for international customers including the government of Trinidad and Tobago. They are also building the Guardian Class Patrol Boats in support of the Morrison Government’s Pacific Patrol Boat program,” Price added.