Following its 18 April selection as preferred tenderer for the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program (Sea 3036), Austal Ships has signed a $280 million (ex GST) contract with the Commonwealth to build and sustain the 19 steel-hulled vessels.
As part of the contract Austal will design and construct the first 19 vessels in Henderson, WA. A $24 million investment by the Commonwealth for the initial seven years' sustainment is included as part of the contract. Austal intends to bid for further sustainment work to cover the life of the class, estimated at 30 years.
The Government said total investment in support and sustainment of the vessels, including the conduct of deep maintenance in Cairns, Queensland, is estimated at more than $400 million across the life of the vessels.
Two vessels have also been offered to a new member of the Program, Timor-Leste, with an option for these additional vessels to be constructed by Austal at an agreed fixed price should Timor-Leste accept the offer.
Construction of the new vessels will commence in the second half of 2017, with the first vessel to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2018 and work running through until 2023.
With the contract marking Austal Ships' transition to steel hulled ship construction, CEO David Singleton said the company would only need to make minor investments in training and equipment to support construction of the vessels.
“Importantly, by expanding into steel we will further enhance the shipyard as we position Austal to bid and win additional domestic defence shipbuilding contracts."
Austal is hoping to construct the Offshore Patrol Vessels as part of program Sea 1180, with initial construction in Adelaide transferring to a WA shipyard in 2020 once first steel is cut for the future frigates program (Sea 5000).
The all new Pacific Patrol Boat is based on Austal’s patrol boat design platform and is 39.5 metres long with a beam of 8 metres and a loaded draft of 2.5 metres. It is capable of traveling at 20 knots and at 12 knots possesses a 3,000 nautical mile range. Each vessel can accommodate 23 people.