Austal announced the launch of the third-in-series Cape Class Patrol Boat (CCPB) at the Company’s Australian Defence Facility in Henderson, Western Australia on 5 May 2014.
Cape Nelson is the third of eight 56-metre patrol boats that are being delivered to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) by Austal as Prime Contractor for a design, build and in-service sustainment contract, valued at approximately $330 million. Under the contract, Austal is also using its in-house expertise to develop and integrate sophisticated electronic systems for command, control and communication.
The launch marked the first time the boat has been lowered into the water. Following maritime tradition, specially minted coins were placed under the keel block of the vessel as a symbol of good fortune on 13 August 2013. These were removed prior to the launch and will be presented to the boat, ACBPS and Austal at a later date. The boat was then lowered into the water using Austal’s slipway facility.
With the vessel in the water, Austal is on target to achieve full vessel completion and sea trials prior to an official naming ceremony and final delivery to ACBPS in Q3 CY2014.
Austal President and General Manager Graham Backhouse said: “This is another special milestone that represents a significant achievement by many people from both Commonwealth and industry who have come together to work as a high performing collaborative team to make this possible. Cape Nelson is a state of the art maritime defence capability that will play a significant role in protecting Australia’s borders from multiple maritime threats. It has been designed to have greater range, endurance and flexibility - as well as enhanced capability to operate in more severe sea conditions and across longer range - than the current fleet of Customs and Border Protection vessels and indeed Royal Australian Navy Armidale Patrol Boat fleet”.
Cape Class is a program of work that underpins Austal’s strategy as a global defence prime contractor of Ships, Systems and Support. It is a program that has also enabled Austal to reposition and strengthen our Henderson facilities as a defence-focused operation. Along with key intermediate and deep level sustainment activities being performed in Henderson on both Cape and Armidale Class vessels, this total solution capability represents the future of the Australian business as Austal continues to expand and enhance the strategic industry capability necessary to meet the current and future defence needs of Australia and other nations.
“The Cape Class Patrol Boat program reinforces our strategy of being a Global Defence Prime Contractor that designs and constructs ships, integrates systems, and provides ongoing support. Austal prides itself on being competitive and attaining the right balance between export and domestic demand, which we believe is the only sustainable model for the long-term future of naval shipbuilding in Australia and the capability it delivers. The Cape Class program is a major component of this, while the recent award of a contract to design and construct two 72 metre High Speed Support Vessels for a Middle East customer reinforces our ability to compete and win defence work in the competitive global market.” Mr Backhouse said.
Apart from the Cape Class Patrol Boats, Austal is prime contractor for three major defence projects: the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) programs for the United States Navy, and two High Speed Support Vessels (HSSV) for a Middle East Navy.