The first of six Evolved Cape-class patrol boats was recently launched at the Austal Ships shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia. The vessels would replace the Royal Australian Navy’s Armidale-class patrol boats and would be used as interim patrol platforms until the commissioning of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels. Austal has commenced construction on the remaining five boats, the first of which is expected to be accepted by the Navy early next year.
“The Evolved Cape-class patrol boats will ensure the Royal Australian Navy is well-equipped to keep Australia’s borders safe. 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,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.
Six Cape Class Patrol Boats are being built by Austal at the Henderson Maritime Precinct. The 58-metre long boats are being built with a number of enhancements, improving operational capability and crew capacity compared to the vessels already operated by the Navy and Australian Border Force. Following the release of the 2017 Naval Shipbuilding Plan, Defence initiated the construction of six additional Cape class patrol boats. The Cape class patrol boat program will supplement the two Cape class patrol boats currently leased by Defence, and mitigate risk in the transition to the Arafura offshore patrol boats.
The Cape class is a ship class of 18 large patrol boats operated by the Marine Unit of the Australian Border Force, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. Ordered in 2011, the vessels were built by Austal to replace Customs’ Bay-class patrol boats, and entered service from 2013 onwards. Following availability issues with the Armidale class, two vessels were chartered by the RAN from mid-2015 to late 2016. 2 vessels were ordered by Trinidad and Tobago for their coast guard in 2018 with the vessels delivered in 2021. A further six vessels were ordered for the RAN in 2020.