Naval Warfare

Republic of Fiji Navy Takes Delivery of Second Guardian-Class Patrol Boat

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Republic of Fiji Navy Takes Delivery of Second Guardian-Class Patrol Boat

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Republic of Fiji Navy Takes Delivery of Second Guardian-Class Patrol Boat
Republic of Fiji Navy Takes Delivery of Second Guardian-Class Patrol Boat

Austal Limited (Austal) is pleased to announce Austal Australia has delivered the 19th Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian Department of Defence. The vessel, RFNS Puamau, was then gifted by the Australian Government to the Republic of Fiji Navy at a handover ceremony held at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia, attended by the Prime Minister of Fiji, the Hon Sitiveni Rabuka and Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry and Minister for International Development and the Pacific. RFNS Puamau was the second Guardian-class patrol boat to be delivered to the Republic of Fiji under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1). RFNS Puamau is the first of four Guardian-class Patrol Boats scheduled for delivery by Austal’s Western Australian shipyards in CY2024.

“The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project is a successful program that continues to highlight Western Australia’s naval shipbuilding capability, effective defence industry collaboration and the vital, ongoing support delivered by the Royal Australian Navy’s Sea Training Group with every Guardian-class Patrol Boat. Puamau, and her sister ship Savenaca, are great examples of Australian naval shipbuilding capability, that draws upon the skills and expertise of not only the Austal team, but hundreds of supply chain partners, and the training support of the Royal Australian Navy in Western Australia. Savenaca has already proven to be an invaluable addition to the Republic of Fiji Navy, undertaking successful missions throughout Fiji’s territorial waters since 2020, including combined maritime patrol and interoperability training with the Royal Australian Navy, in 2022.,” Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said.

This ceremony marked the second new patrol boat delivered to Fiji under the Pacific Maritime Security Program & will continue the important work in upholding maritime security.
RFNS Puamau is the 19th Guardian-class Patrol Boat to be delivered by Austal to the Australian Department of Defence under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project SEA3036-1. (Photo by Republic of Fiji Navy)

The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project was awarded to Austal Australia in May 2016, with subsequent, contract options awarded in April 2018 and November 2022 taking the project to 22 vessels, valued at more than A$350 million, in total. Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Timor-Leste are receiving vessels. The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project continues to support 200 direct jobs at Austal Australia and more than 200 indirect jobs nationally, through Australian businesses contracted by Austal. Through close collaboration with supply chain partners and the Department of Defence, Austal is achieving over 60% Australian Industry Content on the Guardian-class Patrol Boats and helping to build the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise and Australia’s sovereign capability.

The Guardian-class patrol boats are a 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). The steel monohull patrol boat is based on a proven design platform that has included the 38 metre Bay-class, 56 metre Armidale-class and 58 metre Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy. They are designed to berth a complement of 23 crew members. They have a stern launching ramp for a pursuit boat, also improving search and rescue capabilities. Austal delivered the vessels without armament, but they are designed to be capable of mounting an autocannon of up to 30 mm (1.2 in) on their foredeck, and a heavy machine gun on either side of their bridge. The vessel’s twin diesel engines provide 4,000 kilowatts (5,400 shp). Sophisticated electronic engine controls will help conserve fuel.

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