December 17, 2004

Austal launches tenth Yemen patrol boat

Yemen Patrol BoatsAustal has launched the tenth and final fast naval patrol boat ordered by the Republic of Yemen in June 2003.

The boats have been designed to meet a variety of operational requirements. These include general police missions in coastal waters; customs control and anti-terrorist operations at sea; offshore protection and tracking; surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zone; defense and protection of national sea areas and operations within integrated task forces.

The Australian yard's patrol boat capabilities were identified by the Yemen Ministry of Defense as part of an extensive requirements and worldwide market analysis carried out by an international strategic consultancy firm.

Some 24 shipyards, including builders from Asia and eastern and western Europe were studied as part of this process and Austal was nominated as the preferred supplier.

Austal's Sales and Product Development Manager Glenn Williams says Yemen is receiving a well-built, well-engineered and well-supported patrol boat fleet.

"Based on the eight Bay Class patrol boats Austal delivered to the Australian Customs Service in 1999/2000, these 37.5 metre deep V monohull patrol boats offer exceptional value for money by combining world best shipbuilding techniques and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment," he said. "The aluminum construction contributes to both excellent high speed performance and through-life economies due to reduced propulsive power and maintenance requirements."

The moderate power of two Caterpillar 3512 diesel engines driving fixed pitch propellers through Reintjes gearboxes ensured the contract speed of 29 knots was achieved on trials. The twin screw propulsion system blends mechanical reliability and simple, efficient operation with ease of maintenance and is backed by the suppliers' own well-established service and spares networks.

Twin rudders, fabricated from stainless steel, ensure maximum maneuverability and are offset from the screws to facilitate easy shaft removal.

The excellent seakeeping of the deep-V, single chine, semi-displacement hullform has already been proven through extensive tank testing and subsequent operational experience with the Australian Customs Service. This will facilitate operations well out into the Yemen's territorial waters.

Operating range is in excess of 1,000 nautical miles.

Each patrol boat is fitted with a 25 mm twin barreled naval gun and two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns. Weapons lockers for the machine guns and small arms are fitted and ready use ammunition lockers are located adjacent to each gun mounting.

To facilitate all possible combinations of functions that the vessel will be expected to perform with emphasis on safety and efficiency the deck layout has been designed with an absolute minimum of trip points.

Bulwarks are provided to the weather deck forward and a port and starboard walkway are provided around the superstructure.

The weather deck is raised forward to improve the vessel's operating capability.

Aft on the Main Deck a crane is fitted allowing transfer of general cargo from the vessel to a seaboat or ship to shore. A RIB sea boat with a 40 horsepower outboard engine is also provided.

Each patrol boat operates with a complement of 19 comprising three officers and 16 sailors.

The interior fitout has been completed to a comfortable and easy to maintain commercial standard. Layout is arranged for maximum habitability taking into account vessel movement, noise, vibration and the flow of personnel when carrying out their shipboard duties.

The spacious wheelhouse is arranged for three-man operations and located for around-the-horizon visibility and minimal motion, thus reducing crew fatigue.

The emphasis on using COTS equipment from reputable suppliers is clearly evident in the navigation, communication and control systems, not only on the bridge but also in the dedicated operations room.

Sleeping accommodations comprise the Captain's and Officers' cabins on the main deck and two six-berth and two two-berth crew cabins in the hull, all provided with ample storage space.

There is also a ship's office and separate mess areas for officers and crew. In the mess rooms, a TV, video and audio entertainment system is fitted with a booster to enhance reception in marginal areas.

A well-appointed galley and adjacent food storage allows the vessels to spend at least 14 days at sea on patrol without replenishment. A fresh water maker is fitted to supplement potable water supplies.

The onboard air conditioning provides a comfortable working environment and has been designed taking the local climatic conditions, including extremely high air and sea temperatures, fully into account.

Training Program

In addition to designing and building the 10 modern patrol boats Austal has provided a substantial package of training for some 70 personnel, the aim of which is to ensure that crews can make the best use of the vessels' capabilities both when they enter service and for many years to come.

The training program at the shipyard involved key members of each vessel's crew undertaking a combination of tuition and practical training. This included familiarization with the vessels while they were under construction, so that crews are conversant with structural, engineering and systems considerations, as well as at-sea instruction covering the capabilities and operating procedures for the new patrol boats.

Importantly, personnel are also being given instruction and practical training in aluminum welding techniques so that they will be better equipped to undertake or supervise vessel repair and maintenance tasks at local facilities.

"With the quality and success of these latest patrol boats, Austal is very well placed to meet the full supply, training and support needs of defence and police agencies around the world. Austal's global reputation now speaks for itself and highlights our ability to deliver to the customer's performance requirements," Glenn Williams said.

Austal is currently building 12 new 56 m patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy construction of which commenced in April 2004 and will continue until mid-2007. The company is also progressing in the U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project through the award of a final design contract to the General Dynamics team in which Austal is the ship designer and builder. In addition to these projects Austal is also teamed with Raytheon Australia to bid for the upcoming Australian Government tender to build two amphibious ships, which is due to be issued in early 2005.

PRINCIPAL PARTICULARS

Length Overall:37.5 m

Length Waterline:32.4 m

Beam Moulded:7.2 m

Hull Depth Molded:5.0 m

Hull Draft (maximum):2.2 ms

Crew:3 officers, 16 sailors

Armament:1 x 25 mm twin barrelled naval gun, 2 x 12.7 mm heavy machine guns

PROPULSION

Engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3512; 1,305 kW at 1800 rpm each

Gearboxes: 2 x Reintjes WVS 730

Propulsion: 2 x fixed pitch propellers

Generators: 2 x Perkins Sabre 6TWGM, 83 kW each.

Maximum speed: 29.0 knots

Range (with 20% reserve): 1000 nautical miles

TANKAGE

Diesel Fue l27,000 liters

Fresh Water 10,000 liters

Sewage 2,000 liters

Sludge 500 liters

Lube oil 500 liters

SURVEY

Classification: Germanischer Lloyd

Survey Authority: Government of Western Australia USL Code 2B

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