Australian shipbuilder Austal confirmed on 13 August that it is in position to secure a contract to supply a version of its six offshore patrol vessels to the Philippine Navy (PN). Austal said it had submitted a design based on the Cape Class Patrol Boat (CCPB) it has built for the Australian Border Force and the Royal Australian Navy. The RAN and ABF operate fleets of two and eight Cape-class patrol boats respectively. The deal is expected to feature six vessels that will be built in the Philippines by the company’s local subsidiary, Austal Philippines, which is based in Balamban in the central island province of Cebu.
Austal submitted a proposal to the PN based on a for a larger, more capable variant of Cape-class vessels that are currently in operation with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy, and that was recently announced by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as its next maritime protection asset. Improved Cape-class vessel is a circa 80 m steel OPV, which includes a dedicated helicopter flight deck and the latest technology in naval systems including Austal’s MarineLink ship control system and ride control technologies.
Austal acquired its Philippine shipbuilding business in 2012 for about AUD10 million (USD7.2 million). In May 2018, Austal said it would invest USD18 million to expand these facilities, trebling its capacity and enabling it to build larger vessels. The expansion is expected to complete in 2019. It would be the first time Austal has built defence vessels in the Philippines, which to date has produced commercial ferries. Austal’s defence work has been carried out in Henderson, south of Perth, and at its US facilities in Mobil, Alabama. Based in Henderson, Western Australia with shipyards in Australia, USA and Philippines, Austal has delivered over 255 ships to more than 100 operators in 44 countries since 1988.