Austal has announced that the Philippines Navy will acquire six Cape Class patrol vessels in the latest win for the OPV.
The announcement, which first came to light during an interview with Filipino Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, comes shortly after the government of Trinidad and Tobago purchased two Cape Class vessels. Although those will be built at the Henderson yard in WA, the Filipino boats will be built by the company's local subsidiary.
"“We have an offshore-patrol vessel order, six of which would be built here in the country. It will be built by Austal, which is a subsidiary of Austal in Australia, in Balamban, Cebu," Secretary Lorenzana said.
In a statement, Austal said that whilst "further details on the acquisition are not currently available," the company can confirm that it has "submitted a design based on the proven Austal Cape Class Patrol Boat to the Philippines Navy as part of the acquisition process."
The standard Cape Class design has a 58 metre hull, but the Filipino variant will be 80 metres long with a dedicated helicopter flight deck.
“Austal’s well established and very successful shipyard in the Philippines has produced high quality vessels for the worldwide market since 2012," Austal CEO David Singleton said. "Austal will treble [the shipyard's] capacity and allow it to build the largest vessels that Austal currently designs.
"The Philippines shipyard employs hundreds of local people in a broad range of professional, technical and trade roles, and has been responsible for developing the local supply chain in addition to working with local universities and educational establishments.”
"We look forward to resolving contractual arrangements as soon as possible so that we can start work on this impressive and significant project.”
The news also follows the release of an ASPI report into the growing regional demand for patrol boats as piracy, competitive fishing, and Chinese encroachment threaten the sovereignty of ASEAN states like the Philippines.
In response to these threats, the report argues, ASEAN states are stepping up patrols and responses within their EEZs. Many states are buying more patrol boats, increasing the size of the boats they buy, and modernizing existing boats.
“There’s certainly some evidence that there’ll be continued regional demand for vessels ranging from small riverine craft to fast patrol boats and offshore patrol vessels. Australian industry would need to be quite price-competitive and well supported by the Australian Government to realise those opportunities,” the report said.