AUSTAL has added orders for another two Guardian-class patrol boats for the Federal Government, in addition to the 22 previously ordered under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1) since 2016.

Announced on 24 June, the addition of the $39 million order for the two new vessels takes the total contract value to approximately $400 million.

The 39.5-metre, steel-hull patrol boats, will be built at Henderson in Western Australia and scheduled for delivery in 2026.

The construction of the patrol boat is based on a design platform that has included the 38-metre Bay-class, 56-metre Armidale-class and 58-metre Evolved Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.

Faster than the previous Pacific-class patrol boats, with improved seakeeping, better amenities, and an enhanced mission capability – including an integrated Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) stern launch and recovery system – the Guardian-class Patrol Boat provides Pacific Island nations with an effective naval asset with the capability to carry out border patrols, regional policing, search and rescue, and many other operations domestically and internationally.

Nineteen of the 22 vessels have been delivered to 12 Pacific Island nations under the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program since 2018.

Austal Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the additional Guardian-class Patrol Boats will extend the production of the proven vessel platform, designed and constructed by Austal in Henderson and serviced by Austal in Cairns, Queensland.

“Of the 30 vessels Austal Australia has delivered since 2018, 19 have been Guardian-class Patrol Boats for the Australian Department of Defence. These vessels were designed and constructed by our team here in Western Australia, with the support of our highly capable supply chain partners,” Mr Gregg said.

“We also provide in-service support to the 12 Pacific Island nations operating the Guardians, through our growing service centre in Cairns, Queensland.

“We thank the Australian Government for their continued support and look forward to delivering these two additional Guardians to our Pacific Island neighbours over the coming years.” Austal Australia’s service centre in Cairns, which features a 1,200 tonne (80 metre LOA) slipway and a 1,120-tonne mobile boat hoist, continues to provide in-service support to the growing Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleet; with more than 100 people employed in a variety of engineering and sustainment roles in the Far North Queensland city.