THE first of two Austal-built Cape Class Patrol Boats officially joined the Royal Australian Navy fleet at a ceremony at HMAS Stirling this week.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the new addition was a welcome boost for the navy and local defence industry.
“Austal says the $63 million project employed around 400 people at its Henderson shipyard and more than 350 on top of that in its supply chain and subcontractor workforce,” Mr Pyne said.
The first of the two boats, Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Fourcroy, was handed over by Austal and the Australian White Ensign was hoisted for the first time.
Mr Pyne said the boats would supplement the navy’s existing Armidale Class Patrol Boats as the current fleet undergoes deep maintenance.
“For the last two years, Defence has been operating up to two Cape Class Boats on loan from Australian Border Force to allow the navy to continue to meet its operational commitments,” he said.
“The last loan vessel will shortly be returned to Australian Border Force and be replaced by two new Cape Class Patrol Boats which Defence will lease until 2020.”
Mr Pyne said the boats will ensure there was no capability gap for navy.
The vessels are manned by two crews, ‘Port’ and ‘Starboard’, with one crew embarked and one disembarked at any given time
“The Cape Class Patrol Boats have proven themselves in the demanding environments required by Defence,” he said.
Cape Fourcroy will undertake integration training and sea assurance trials before being deployed to support border protection operations.
The second of the two vessels, Cape Inscription, will be received by Defence later this month.