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Austal begins sea trials for ninth Evolved Cape-class vessel

Australia's future ADV Cape Solander seen here while it was undergoing its sea trials phase with shipbuilder Austal. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Australian shipbuilder Austal has carried out sea trials for the ninth Evolved Cape-class patrol vessel on order for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Janes has been informed that maiden sea trials for the vessel, which will be in service as ADV Cape Solander once commissioned, begun in the first week of June.

Cape Solander is one of 12 Evolved Cape-class patrol vessels, which derive its design from Austal's 58 m Cape class, that has been planned for the RAN.

The newer vessels are designed with better habitability features and can accommodate a larger crew complement of 32 instead of 22.

Cape Solander has been applied with pennant number 312.

It displaces about 400 tonnes at full load. Powered by two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines, the vessel can attain a top speed of 26 kt and a standard range of about 4,000 n miles at 12 kt.

In addition to its crew complement, each Evolved Cape-class patrol vessel is able to hold about 24 detainees within a secured and dedicated holding area beneath its bridge.

This holding area is equipped with habitability features including canvas bunk beds, a drinking water dispenser, and a separate head from the one used by its crew members.

In terms of weapons, the Evolved Cape class can be armed with two 12.7 mm machine guns. It can also carry two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) to assist with interdiction operations against suspicious vessels.

Cape Solander is scheduled for further trials in the coming weeks and is expected to be handed over to the RAN by the third quarter of 2024.

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