Austal to build more Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats for the Navy

Patrol Boats

PM Scott Morrison visits Austal's Henderson shipyard. Image credit: Austal.

On visiting Austal’s Henderson shipyard in WA last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the Department of Defence will order two more Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (ECCPBs) for the Royal Australian Navy. 

This is in addition to the six ECCPBs currently being delivered by Austal to the Royal Australian Navy.  

“We are incredibly proud to be supporting the Royal Australian Navy by providing and enhancing fleet capability, working in collaboration with the Department of Defence and Industry partners,” Austal chief executive officer Paddy Gregg said. 

“This announcement for additional Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats further strengthens and supports Australian sovereign shipbuilding capability and provides Austal, and our outstanding supply chain partners, with a level of continuity that will provide stability and security for the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise. Austal will also continue to invest and develop our facilities in Henderson to ensure we have the capability and capacity for the future programme of work the Prime Minister has previously announced.” 

According to Gregg, Austal delivered the first of these vessels last month – the ADV Cape Otway. 

“We look forward to continuing at pace, with all eight Evolved Cape Patrol Boats to be delivered through to 2024, providing long-term commitments to our supply chain partners in the Australian Shipbuilding Industry,” he said. 

The Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat is an evolution of Austal’s proven Cape-class Patrol Boat platform, first developed for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (now Australian Border Force) in 2013. With eight Capes delivered to the ABF over 2013-2015 and an additional two Capes delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in 2017, there are now ten Cape-class Patrol Boats operating around Australia. 

In 2021, Austal Australia delivered a further two Cape-class Patrol Boats to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard – the first exports of a vessel class which has become a benchmark for offshore patrol capability around the world. 

Based on the original 58m aluminium monohull design, the ECCPBs include several enhancements that extend the capability of the vessel and the fleet. Crew capacity has been increased by 10 people, to now total 32 and quality-of-life provisions have been enhanced, ensuring those who operate the new vessels have connectivity to the outside world, regardless of the operating environment. 

The ECCPBs will be used for a variety of constabulary and naval missions and play a critical role in Australia’s national security as a high-performing, reliable and effective maritime asset for the Royal Australian Navy. 

In addition to the Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat Project, Austal is also currently delivering 21 Guardian-class Patrol Boats for the Department of Defence under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, with 14 patrol boats delivered since 2018.