THE second of six patrol boats being built by Austal Australia has been launched and delivered to the Royal Australian Navy.

The 58-metre evolved Cape-class patrol poat was constructed over an 18-month period at Austal’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.

Austal Australia is building the six vessels under a $324-million contract awarded to the company in May 2020.

Launched by assistant minister for defence Andrew Hastie, the new boat is one of nine Australian naval vessels to be delivered throughout the year.

Austal Limited chief executive officer Paddy Gregg said the Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat Project is progressing at a steady pace.

“Our hardworking Austal team and supply chain partners continue to achieve greater efficiencies and productivity, working together with the Department of Defence to provide new capability in support of the Navy’s operational requirements and further develop the National Shipbuilding Enterprise,” Mr Gregg said.

“We will be handing over the first of class in March, with follow-on vessels delivered every four months thereafter.”

The current project is one of two major naval shipbuilding projects Austal Australia is delivering this year, the second being the Guardian-class Patrol Boat Project.

Mr Hastie said the patrol boats are a vital capability which the Navy will use to secure Australia’s borders.

“Today marks another important milestone in the government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan – further strengthening our sovereign defence industry capability and delivering the largest regeneration of our naval fleet since the second world war,” he said.

“Building these vessels here in Western Australia means a stronger defence force that will protect our borders and our national security interests and create long-term local jobs.”

The program has directly employed 400 people in Henderson and hundreds more through national supply chain partners since it began in 2020.