June 24, 2019 – AUSTAL today reports the on-time delivery of the third Guardian Class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian Department of Defence. In a handover ceremony with the Crown Prince of Tonga, His Royal Highness, Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, the Commonwealth, represented by Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon. Alex Hawke MP gifted the vessel to the Government of Tonga.
“This is the third of 21 Guardian Class that Austal has designed and built for the Commonwealth’s Pacific Maritime Security Program. We are very proud to be delivering this program that will continue out to 2023” David Singleton, Austal Chief Executive Officer said.
“These vessels will have ongoing maintenance support from our service center operations in Cairns ensuring continued engagement and opportunities for Austal in the Pacific. This has been an important program being Austal’s first major steel shipbuilding program and sustainment operation” he said.
“The Guardian Class provides a very modern and capable patrol boat matched to the south east Asian and Indo Pacific region. It is a very affordable vessel and is a focus for our export activities” he said.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Program, was awarded to Austal in May 2016 with an additional contract option awarded in April 2018 taking the program to 21 vessels valued at more than 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. In total Austal has more than 1000 employees in Australia directly contributing to and delivering a strong domestic and export shipbuilding order book.