Australia hands over second Guardian-class patrol boat to Solomon Islands

by Gabriel Dominguez

Australia has handed over the second and final Guardian-class patrol boat built for the government of the Solomon Islands.

The vessel, which has been named RSIPV Taro (pennant number 06), was formally accepted by the High Commissioner for Solomon Islands, Robert Sisilo, in a ceremony held on 7 May at the facilities of shipbuilder Austal in Henderson, Western Australia. The move follows the handover of the first boat, RSIPV Gizo (05), in November 2019.

Taro is the 10th of the 21 boats of the class being given by Canberra to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Leste as part of Australia’s Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (also known as Sea 3036) programme.

Australia handed over the second and final Guardian-class patrol boat built for the government of the Solomon Islands in a ceremony held on 7 May at the facilities of shipbuilder Austal in Henderson, Western Australia.  (Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence)

Australia handed over the second and final Guardian-class patrol boat built for the government of the Solomon Islands in a ceremony held on 7 May at the facilities of shipbuilder Austal in Henderson, Western Australia. (Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence)

“The new Guardian-class patrol boats play an important role in tackling our shared regional security challenges and the delivery of RSIPV Taro is a significant milestone,” said Rear Admiral Katherine Richards, Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) head of engineering. “We are better positioned to respond to maritime threats, from illegal fishing to transnational crime, by working together, co-ordinating closely, and building our interoperability,” she added.

The Guardian class has an overall length of 39.5 m, a beam of 8 m, and can accommodate a crew of 23. It is powered by two Caterpillar 3516C engines and can attain a top speed of 20 kt.

The steel-hulled boats are being built with space and weight considerations for a 30 mm naval gun as a primary weapon, as well as port and starboard mounts for 12.7 mm general-purpose machine guns.

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Australia has handed over the second and final Guardian-class patrol boat built for the government o...

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