Timor Leste has agreed to have two Guardian-class pacific patrol boats (PPBs) built by Australian shipbuilder Austal.
This was announced by the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull and Timor-Leste Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, at the Asia Pacific conference in Perth, Australia.
Timor Leste is a new member of Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Program which will now build 21 steel-hulled vessels to replace the existing fleet of pacific patrol boats.
With the additional two boats for Timor Leste, the total production quantity goes to 21 from the 19 already committed.
“The PPB program is intended to aid regional security in the South Pacific by helping to secure the Timor Leste maritime border and represents an example of defence diplomacy fostering close relations between countries in the Asia-Pacific,” Austal CEO David Singleton said.
“The first of the current order of Guardian Class patrol boats is already well into its construction phase and is running on time and on budget. Handover of the first vessel is projected to be in the third quarter of CY 2018,” Singleton said.
The pacific patrol boat contract was awarded to Austal in May, 2016 and is worth $305m for the original 19 vessels and associated in service support.
Austal has separately partnered with Fassmer of Germany for the Commonwealth of Australia’s $3.5 billion offshore patrol vessel program and is in a teaming agreement with ASC to compete for the build of the $35 billion future frigate Program.