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Papua New Guinea commissions second Guardian-class patrol vessel

HMPNGS Ted Diro , Papua New Guinea's first of four Guardian-class patrol vessels. The Papua New Guinea Defence Force's Maritime Element commissioned the second vessel, HMPNGS Rochus Lokinap , on 7 October 2021. (Austal)

Papua New Guinea Defence Force's (PNGDF's) Maritime Element has commissioned its second Guardian-class patrol vessel, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) announced on 13 October.

The vessel, HMPNGS Rochus Lokinap, was commissioned at the Lobrum Naval in Papua New Guinea's Manus province on 7 October, the RAN said.

Rochus Lokinap was handed over to the PNGDF in March 2021. The country's first Guardian-class patrol vessel, HMPNGS Ted Diro, was commissioned in February 2019. Both vessels are part of the Australian government's Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (SEA 3036) programme. The project is delivering 21 new patrol vessels as donations to 12 Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste. The PNGDF will receive a total of four vessels under the initiative.

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

The class is designed to be equipped with a 30 mm naval gun as a primary weapon, as well as port and starboard mounts for 12.7 mm general-purpose machine guns.

The Australian Department of Defence said in June 2021 that it has agreed to a request from Papua New Guinea to arm all four vessels it gifted with undisclosed weapons.

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