March 6, 2020 – Austal Limited is pleased to announce the on-time delivery of the sixth Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) to the Australian Department of Defence.
The vessel, the RFNS Savenaca, was today gifted by the Government of Australia to the Government of Fiji during a handover ceremony at Austal Australia’s Henderson shipyard – attended by the Fijian Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, Australian Minister for Defence Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds CSC, Australian Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon. Melissa Price MP and Chief of Defence Force, General Angus Campbell AO DSC.
Austal Chief Executive David Singleton said the first Guardian-class Patrol Boat delivery for 2020 highlighted the Australian shipyard’s continuing gains in productivity and efficiency, which is delivering a new naval vessel every 3 months.
“Now in the third year of production, the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project has really hit its stride, with this sixth Guardian-class Patrol Boat benefiting from a number of innovative production processes that have reduced production time, while maintaining quality.
“Our warmest congratulations go to Prime Minister Bainimarama, the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto and the Chief of Navy Captain Humphrey Tawake on the handover of this impressive new ship, the RFNS Savenaca,” Singleton said.
Faster, with improved seakeeping, better amenities and an enhanced mission capability – including an integrated stern launch and recovery system – the Guardian-class Patrol Boat(s) provide the Fiji Navy with a much improved naval asset to carry out border patrols, regional policing, search and rescue and many other operations domestically and internationally.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project 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 A$335 million.
Twelve Pacific Island nations including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste will receive the vessels through to 2023.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project supports more than 200 direct jobs at Austal Australia and more than 200 indirect jobs nationally, through approximately 450 Australian businesses contracted.
“Austal Australia’s delivery of the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project is achieving 68.5% Australian Industry Content, which is outstanding for a project of this size and complexity. Austal, and our valued suppliers, contractors and business partners are adding real value to Australian industry and contributing to genuine sovereign shipbuilding capability,” Singleton added.
Austal’s service center in Cairns is providing in-service support to the growing Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleet, with more than 40 people now employed in a variety of engineering and sustainment roles in the Far North Queensland city.
The 39.5 meter steel monohull patrol boat – designed, constructed and sustained by Austal Australia – is based on a proven design platform that has included the 38 meter Bay-class, 56 meter Armidale-class and 58 meter Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.
The RFNS Savenaca is one of two Guardian-class Patrol Boats to be delivered to and operated by the Fiji Navy, replacing the Pacific-class RFNS Kula that has been in service since 1994.