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Austal set for Philippine OPV programme

12 August 2018
Australian shipbuilder Austal is bidding to supply a version of its Cape-class patrol boat (pictured) to the Philippine Navy. Source: Austal Limited

Australian shipbuilder Austal confirmed on 13 August that it is in position to secure a contract to supply a version of its Cape-class patrol boat to the Philippine Navy (PN).

The deal is expected to feature six vessels that will be built in the Philippines by the company’s local subsidiary, Austal Philippines, which is based in Balamban in the central island province of Cebu.

The potential contract was announced by Austal two days after Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the PN would acquire six offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) from the Australian company.

Austal said it had earlier submitted a proposal to the PN based on a “larger, more capable variant” of the 58 m Cape-class patrol boats that are currently in operation with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Australian Border Force (ABF).

Austal said that the variant developed for the Philippines “is a circa 80 m steel OPV, which includes a dedicated helicopter flight deck and the latest technology in naval systems” including Austal’s MarineLink ship control system and ride control technologies. The company said it hopes to finalise contractual arrangements “as soon as possible”.

Commenting on the proposed build programme, Austal said, “Austal’s OPV will be designed in Australia and the Philippines but will be proudly built at Austal Philippines, by Filipinos, for the Philippines Navy. Our Balamban shipyard will not only be able to build the new vessels but also support any through-life maintenance that is required.”

Austal acquired its Philippine shipbuilding business in 2012 for about AUD10 million (USD7.2 million). In May 2018, Austal said it would invest USD18 million to expand these facilities, trebling its capacity and enabling it to build larger vessels. The expansion is expected to complete in 2019.

The RAN and ABF operate fleets of two and eight Cape-class patrol boats respectively.

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