Australian shipbuilder Austal on May 30 announced that the first of overall 21 Pacific Patrol Boats was launched after officially starting construction in April 2017.
The first vessel in the class is scheduled for delivery to Papua New Guinea in late October 2018.
The boats are also known as the Guardian-class and are being built under a A$305 million contract Austal signed with the Australian government in May 2016. In April 2018, the company received an additional A$29.7 million contract to build two more vessels for Timor Leste.
“Austal is proud to be delivering the PPB-R program for the Commonwealth. This is the first steel ship program we have managed and we are doing so on time and on budget,” Austal CEO, David Singleton said.
“It is a testament to the skills, experience and management of the Austal PPB-R team that the first vessel has met its project milestones for design and build, on schedule. The overall construction program is well underway with vessels two and three in build and the fourth vessel commencing construction in June.”
The PPB-R Project comprises the design, construction, delivery, training and sustainment of nineteen 40-meter patrol boats – to be gifted by the Commonwealth of Australia – to twelve Pacific Island nations as part of Australia’s new Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“This program will support 200 direct jobs at Austal and a further 200 indirect jobs in the broader Australian industry in a program that now extends out to late 2023. This employment is in addition to several hundred jobs at Austal created by a number of large commercial export contracts currently under construction and planned for construction at our Henderson shipyard,” Singleton said.
Sustainment of the new fleet of vessels will be carried out by Austal from facilities in Cairns, Queensland.