First Guardian-Class Patrol Boat Handed Over to PNG
(Source: Royal Australian Navy; issued Dec 02, 2018)
The Guardian Class Patrol Boat was designed and constructed by Austal Australia for the Commonwealth of Australia's Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, comprising 21 vessels to be delivered to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor Leste. (Austal photo)
The first of four new Guardian Class Patrol Boats was handed over to Papua New Guinea on Friday at a ceremony at Austal Ships, Henderson, Western Australia. The four patrol boats destined for New Guinea are part of a program which will eventually see 21 boats gifted to Pacific island nations.

Part of the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, the new boat has a maximum speed of 20 knots and is designed for a crew of 23 sailors and officers.

Minister for Defence Industry the Honourable Steven Ciobo, MP said the project highlighted the close relationship between Australia and her Pacific Nation neighbours.

“These Guardian Class Patrol Boats are being gifted to 12 Pacific nations and Timor-Leste as part of Australia’s Pacific Maritime Security Program,” he said.

“It really speaks to the nature of the relationship not only between Australia and PNG, but also between Australia and all Pacific island countries and Timor Leste.

“Being able to deliver on this relationship through initiatives such as this is seen by the Australian Government as a fundamental part of the vital friendship between all of our nations.”

The handover of the vessel marks the first of 21 patrol boats that will be gifted to Pacific island nations and Timor Leste to enhance maritime security across the region.

The build of the vessels is worth more than $350 million, with the next boat to be gifted to Tuvalu in April 2019 - Austal expects a boat to be delivered every four months thereafter.

The Guardian Class Patrol Boats were designed to replace the ageing Pacific Forum Class vessels that Pacific nations had been operating since they were introduced in the late 1980s.

The first-of-class Guardian Patrol Boat was named after Edward (Ted) Diro, a former PNG soldier and politician.

The vessel’s twin diesel engines can provide 400kw of power, and specially designed electronic engine controls will help conserve fuel.

Among the PNG delegation to attend the ceremony were the Minister for Defence the Honourable Solan Mirisim, MP, Secretary of Defence Mr Trevor Meauri, and Chief of the PNG Defence Force Major General Gilbert Toropo, CBE.

The Australian Defence Force was represented by a number of senior officers including Chief of Defence Force General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC, and General Manager Ships Rear Admiral Anthony Dalton, RAN.

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Austal Delivers First Guardian Class Patrol Boat
(Source: Austal; issued Nov. 30, 2018)
Austal today delivered the first Guardian Class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian Department of Defence and then in a handover ceremony, presented the vessel to the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government. The “Ted Diro” is the first of 21 GCPBs to be gifted to 12 Pacific Island Nations and Timor-Leste under the Commonwealths Pacific Maritime Security Program.

“Austal are proud to deliver this program for the Commonwealth of Australia. The Guardian Class has brought together the industry-leading skills of over 200 Austal employees, and estimated to have employed an additional 200 people indirectly through the design, construction and sustainment process.

The Guardian Class is the latest evolution of Austal’s proven patrol boat platform that was first introduced some 20 years ago, commencing with the Bay Class Patrol Boat developed for the Australian Customs Service. Since 1998, Austal has delivered 32 patrol boats to the Commonwealth – representing Australia’s entire border patrol capability. Indeed, Austal has delivered or has orders for a total of 97 patrol boats for Australia and around the world.

Over the past six weeks, we have had the Ted Diro crew from the PNG Navy at Austal training on how to use and maintain the new vessels. Their positive feedback on the greater capability, amenity and operability of the Guardian Class has been fantastic. We look forward to show casing the new vessels to the other Pacific Island nations over the life of the 21vessel program through to 2023”. Austal CEO, David Singleton said.

“This is Austal’s first major ship building program in steel. It is a reflection of the skills, experience and management of the Austal team that, since May 2016 they have developed a brand-new production facility at Naval Base in Western Australia, designed a production line process, completed the detailed vessel design and are now delivering the first vessel 30 months later.”

“The program is now in a full rate of production, with the second vessel, which is destined for Tuvalu, successfully launched on Monday with an additional three vessels in various stages of construction. Austal are already looking at export opportunities for the GCPB” Mr Singleton said.

The Pacific Patrol Boat contract was awarded to Austal in May 2016 with a contract option in April 2018 taking the program to 21 vessels valued at AU$335 million. The program supports more than 200 direct jobs at Austal and more than a further 200 indirect jobs through the Australian industry involved in the program. Austal has around 1000 employees in Australia directly contributing to delivering a strong domestic and export shipbuilding industry.

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