Austal hosted the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Defense Industry, at the ceremonial keel laying of the first of 19 Pacific Patrol Boat vessels for the Australian Government’s Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project.
Minister Pyne authenticated the keel by committing his signature to a plate that was subsequently welded and placed in the hull of the vessel.
Austal chief executive officer, David Singleton, said the ceremonial keel laying was a significant milestone in the A$306 million (US$245 million) PPB-R Project, which is the first major element of the Australian Government’s $89 billion (US$71 billion) Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
“Austal is delivering on every aspect of the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement project; from the design and build here in Henderson, to the sustainment of the vessels in Cairns,” Singleton said.
“This project is anticipated to employ more than 200 people directly at Austal and hundreds more through our growing Australian supply chain, providing outstanding career opportunities for both qualified workers and apprentices across the country.
“We’ve already employed more than 30 new apprentices so far this year and we anticipate having 100 on board by the end of 2017,” he added.
“The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement contract further highlights Austal’s inherent capability to deliver the Royal Australian Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels, with joint venture partner Fassmer of Germany and our established supply chain of over 1,000 companies Australia-wide,” Singleton concluded.
Austal has delivered the Bay, Armidale and Cape class fleets, a total of 32 vessels, to the Australian Border Force
and Royal Australian Navy over the past 19 years.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) contract was awarded to Austal following
a competitive tender in May 2016 and comprises the design, build and sustainment of nineteen 39.5 meter steel-hulled patrol boats, for 12 Pacific Island nations. The vessels are being gifted by the Australian Government to enhance practical maritime security cooperation across the South Pacific region.
The first vessel, one of four to be delivered to Papua New Guinea, is due for completion in the last quarter of 2018.