Australia to assess potential defects of Guardian-class patrol boats

by Julian Kerr

Australia's DoD said it will assess potential defects of Guardian-class patrol vessels donated to Pacific Island countries. Ted Diro (pictured above) is the first of four vessels for Papua New Guinea. (Austal)

Australia's Department of Defence (DoD) and shipbuilder Austal are flying specialists to several Pacific Island countries to assess possible technical defects of Guardian-class patrol boats designed, built, and donated by Canberra, the DoD disclosed on 1 July.

The DoD said in a statement that the primary issue involved a potential fault in the vessels' exhaust systems. It said other issues that had emerged during the past 16 months included cracking in the coupling between the engine and the gearbox, and sickbay ventilation.

“Austal and [DoD] representatives will soon travel to Pacific Island nations to assess all vessels and work with Pacific Island countries on temporary rectification measures ahead of a longer-term solution,” the DoD statement said. Each country would make its own decision whether to operate its vessels or pause operations, it added.

Under the AUD2.1 billion (USD1.45 billion) Pacific Maritime Security Programme (PMSP), Australia is donating 22 of the Austal-designed and constructed Guardian-class boats to 12 Pacific Island countries, inclusive of through-life sustainment and maintenance.

The 96-ton, 39.5-m vessels have a crew of 23, a top speed of 20 kt, and a range of 3,000 n miles at 12 kt. The boats are not delivered with weapons fitted but have space and weight reserves for an autocannon of up to 30 mm, and port and starboard mounts for .50 calibre machine guns.

Fifteen of the Guardian-class vessels have been delivered, and delivery of the final seven will be completed in 2023, an Austal spokesperson told Janes .

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Australia's Department of Defence (DoD) and shipbuilder Austal are flying specialists to several Pac...

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