MAY 5, 2016 — The Commonwealth of Australia today awarded Austal an A$305 million (US$228.1 million) contract for the Pacific Patrol Boats Replacement (PPBR) Project, taking the shipbuilder's Henderson, Western Australia, shipyard into the construction of steel patrol vessels.
The news came following a U.S. Navy announcement yesterday that Austal USA is being awarded a US$24.6 million U.S. contract action for the procurement of long-lead-time material and initial engineering support for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 12 (formerly Joint High Speed Vessel 12).
Austal's share of the Pacific Patrol Boats project is for the construction of 19 steel-hulled patrol boats, including an option for two additional vessels, valued at A$280 million (US$209.4 million) along with sustainment support for an initial seven year period valued at approximately A$24 million (US$18 million).
The patrol boats will be delivered to up to 13 Pacific island nations, strengthening the region's capability to respond to issues such fisheries protection, trans-national crime, and search and rescue.
Austal intends to bid for further sustainment support work over the service life of the class – estimated at 30 years – which will be awarded both during and beyond the initial seven year period.
Austal will commence design work immediately. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2017, with first delivery in fourth quarter 2018 and giving the shipyard work running through to 2023.
Austal CEO David Singleton said the contract added to Austal's long history in designing, constructing, and sustaining patrol boats for domestic and export customers.
"Austal has consistently proven its credentials as an efficient prime contractor and shipbuilder of quality aluminium vessels and we look forward to translating that expertise into the design and construction of steel-hulled vessels," Mr Singleton said.
"Given our extensive facilities at Henderson we will need to make only minor investments in training and equipment to support construction of steel vessels of this size.
"Importantly, by expanding into steel we will further enhance the shipyard as we position Austal to bid and win additional domestic defense shipbuilding contracts. The contract also opens up new opportunities to further develop our successful export programs, which have accounted for up to 80 per cent of our production in the past, making Austal Australia's most successful shipbuilder.
"The continuous build program adopted by the Australian Government for the PPBR and planned for other programs delivers the Government and taxpayers a more cost efficient vessel construction process as well as sustainable and continuous employment in Henderson which creates the bedrock for further growth. We have won this program against significant international competition which demonstrates the competitiveness of our Australian design and shipbuilding industry."
The all new Pacific Patrol Boat is based on Austal's proven patrol boat design platform and is 39.5 m long with a beam of 8 m and a loaded draft of 2.5 m. It is capable of traveling at 20 knots and at 12 knots hAS a 3,000 nautical mile range. Each vessel can accommodate 23 people.
Austal's Henderson shipyard is currently completing construction of the second of two 72 m High Speed Support Vessels valued at US$124.9 million for the Royal Navy of Oman, to be delivered this year and two additional 58 metre Cape Class Patrol Boats valued at A$63 million, to be operated by the Royal Australian Navy and scheduled for mid-CY2017 delivery.