Austal lays keel for first of six Cape-class patrol boats for RAN

by Gabriel Dominguez

Australian shipbuilder Austal has laid the keel for the first of six ‘evolved’ Cape-class patrol boats ordered in May for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), according to a 24 July statement by the Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra.

The six 58 m-long boats are being built at Henderson, Western Australia, under a AUD350 million (USD249 million) programme, said Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, adding that the boats “will be built with a number of enhancements, improving operational capability and crew capacity compared to the vessels already operated by both the navy and the Australian Border Force”.

A computer-generated image of a Cape-class patrol boat. The Australian DoD announced on 24 July that Austal had laid the keel for the first of six ‘evolved’ boats of the class for the RAN.  (Austal)

A computer-generated image of a Cape-class patrol boat. The Australian DoD announced on 24 July that Austal had laid the keel for the first of six ‘evolved’ boats of the class for the RAN. (Austal)

The minister said that the ‘evolved’ Cape-class vessels will replace the RAN’s Armidale-class patrol boats and will be used as interim patrol platforms until the commissioning of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

The DoD announcement came only two days after Austal said it had already begun work on the second of the six boats. In a 22 July statement the company said that “plate cutting” for the second vessel was completed “less than 12 weeks” after it had secured the DoD contract for the construction and supply of the six boats (hulls 811–816).

The Australian Border Force operates eight Cape-class boats, while the RAN operates two leased vessels of the class: Cape Fourcroy , which was delivered to the service in May 2017, and Cape Inscription , which was handed over in July 2017.

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Australian shipbuilder Austal has laid the keel for the first of six ‘evolved’ Cape-class patrol boa...

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