Austal Australia has launched into 2022, literally, with the launch of the 15th Guardian-class Patrol Boat to be constructed for the Australian Government Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1). ‘Te Kukupa II’, for the Cook Islands Police Service, was launched this week at the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson, Western Australia after a safe transfer by Vulcan Engineering from Austal’s Naval Base shipyard. The vessel is one of 9 ships that Austal Australia will be delivering to the Commonwealth of Australia in CY2022; including 5 Guardian-class Patrol Boats to be gifted to Australian Pacific Island neighbours, and 4 Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy.
Austal is incredibly proud of Australian heritage and a proven track record of delivering shipbuilding programs to local and international clients for over 33 years. Our capabilities and expertise span the entire Shipbuilding Product Lifecycle; from design and construction to commissioning and sustainment. In CY2021, the Austal Australia team delivered 7 locally designed and constructed naval ships – 5 Guardian-class Patrol Boats to the Commonwealth of Australia and 2 Cape-class Patrol Boats to the Government of Trinidad & Tobago. The delivery of the 2 ships to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard is particularly significant as they represent the first exports of the proven Cape-class Patrol Boat design, a benchmark naval ship conceived, designed and built in Australia by Austal.
The Guardian-class patrol boats are a class of small patrol vessels designed and built in Australia and provided to small South 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. Australia provided twenty-two Pacific Forum vessels to twelve nations. They were designed to use commercial off the shelf components, to make them easier to maintain for the small nations that would operate them. Australia stood ready to help with training and maintenance, during the duration of the program, because Australia’s external security issues were eased if it could count on its sovereign neighbours having resources to police their own external security.
The Australian government called for submission in March 2015. Five consortia submitted designs for the class. Austal was chosen as the contractor in April 2016. The vessels will be 39.5 metres (129 ft 7 in) long, steel monohull design, capable of traveling 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 km; 3,500 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph), with a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph). They are designed to berth a complement of 23 crew members. They will have a stern launching ramp for a pursuit boat. Austal will deliver the vessels without armament, but they were designed to be capable of mounting an autocannon of up to 30 millimetres (1.2 in) on their foredeck, and a heavy machine gun on either side of their bridge. The vessel’s twin diesel engines can provide 4,000 kilowatts (5,400 shp). Sophisticated electronic engine controls will help conserve fuel.