Australia continues to invest in Papua New Guinea’s maritime security capability. At the request of Papua New Guinea, Australian Government Department of Defence has agreed to arm the Papua New Guinea Defence Force’s four new Guardian-class Patrol Boats, delivered through the Pacific Maritime Security Program. This will ensure a continuity of Papua New Guinea’s sovereign capabilities, with its Pacific-class Patrol Boats previously armed. The equipment will better enable Papua New Guinea to respond to our shared maritime challenges, from illegal fishing to transnational crime.
Australia will provide a comprehensive support and training package. Both countries are committed to signing a Memorandum of Understanding, which will ensure compliance with relevant domestic and international obligations. Australia has a long-standing security partnership with Papua New Guinea through our Defence Cooperation Program and the Pacific Maritime Security Program. We have a history of working together to protect our shared maritime security interests.
This investment in Papua New Guinea’s sovereign defence capabilities will boost Pacific regional maritime security and contribute to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. The first Guardian-class Patrol Boat provided to Papua New Guinea, HMPNGS Ted Diro, was handed over in 2018. The second, HMPNGS Rochus Lokinap, was delivered to Papua New Guinea in 2021. A further two patrol boats are under construction. The 39.5 metre steel patrol boats are designed and built by Austal in Western Australia.
The Guardian-class patrol boats are a class of small patrol vessels designed and built in Australia for small Pacific Ocean countries. The class is designed to be updated replacements for the Pacific Forum-class patrol boats provided to its allies from 1987 to 1997. Austal was commissioned to build 19 Guardian-class boats in 2016. Like the class of vessels they will replace, these small vessels will allow Australia’s small neighbours to patrol their own economic zones. The Guardian class will be slightly larger, will have better sea-keeping capabilities, and their electronics suite will be up to date.