The first of Austal's 21 Guardian Class Pacific Patrol Boats (PPB-R) has been launched just two years after the contract was awarded, in line with the project schedule and budget.
The vessel is the first launched under the government’s $90 billion continuous shipbuilding program, and is scheduled for delivery to Papua New Guinea in late October. The boats will be used to conduct maritime surveillance and enforcement operations, such as combating illegal fishing.
“Austal is proud to be delivering the PPB-R program for the Commonwealth. This is the first steel ship program we have managed and we are doing so on time and on budget” Austal CEO David Singleton said. “It is a testament to the skills, experience and management of the Austal PPB-R team that the first vessel has met its project milestones for design and build, on schedule.
"The overall construction program is well underway with vessels two and three in build and the fourth vessel commencing construction in June.
“This program will support 200 direct jobs at Austal and a further 200 indirect jobs in the broader Australian industry in a program that now extends out to late 2023."
We are already working on export opportunities leveraging off the Pacific Patrol Boats which will assist Australia to sustain its sovereign naval shipbuilding industry. Austal has already delivered over 40 Patrol Boats to international customers around the world,” Mr Singleton said.
“The launch is a further demonstration the Turnbull Government is delivering on its ambitious naval shipbuilding agenda,” Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said.
“This particular boat will be gifted to Papua New Guinea in late October 2018, and is the first of 21 boats to be gifted to 12 Pacific Island countries and East Timor as part of the Pacific Maritime Security Program.”
The Pacific Patrol Boat contract was awarded to Austal in May 2016. The original contract is worth $305 million for the first 19 vessels and associated in-service support, with a further $29.7 million contract awarded in April 2018 for two additional vessels.
Construction of the second and third boats is underway, with new boats scheduled to be delivered at approximately three-month intervals from late 2018 until 2023.
The 39.5 metre steel-hulled patrol boats are being built at Austal’s dedicated production facility in the suburb of Naval Base, near Henderson.