Austal Limited (Austal) is pleased to announce Austal Australia has delivered the 16th Guardian-class Patrol Boat (GCPB) David W Panuelo to the Australian Department of Defense.

The vessel was then gifted by the Australian Government to the Federated States of Micronesia at a certificate signing ceremony held today at Austal’s shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.

The ceremony was attended by Commodore Ivan Ingham AM, Royal Australian Navy, Senior ADF Officer Western Australia, with the Federated States of Micronesia represented by LCDR Steward (Siddi) Peter, FSM Police Maritime Wing.

The new Guardian-class Patrol Boat is the second to be gifted to the Federated States of Micronesia under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, part of the Australian Government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program; the first being FSS Tosiwo Makayama delivered in March 2022.
Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the new vessel was the first of two Guardian-class Patrol Boats to be delivered to the Australian Department of Defense in the second half of CY2023, with the remaining four vessels under contract scheduled for delivery in CY2024.

“With the completion of engineering enhancements that deliver even greater system capabilities, this latest Guardian-class Patrol Boat adds an outstanding new capability to the Federated States of Micronesia Police Maritime Wing.

“Our warmest congratulations go to LCDR ‘Siddi’ Peter and his crew; we wish them ‘fair winds and following seas’ for their journey home and future missions,” Gregg said.

Faster than the previous/current Pacific class patrol boats, with improved seakeeping, better amenities, and an enhanced mission capability – including an integrated RHIB stern launch and recovery system – the Guardian-class Patrol Boat provides the Federated States of Micronesia 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 Project was awarded to Austal Australia in May 2016, with subsequent, contract options awarded in April 2018 and November 2022 taking the project to 22 vessels, valued at more than A$350 million, in total. 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 are receiving vessels.
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project supports more than 200 direct jobs at Austal Australia and more than 200 indirect jobs nationally through Australian businesses contracted by Austal.

Austal Australia’s expanded service center in Cairns, incorporating a 1,200 tonne (80 meter LOA) slipway and a 1,120 tonne mobile boat hoist, continues to provide in-service support to the growing Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleet; with more than 100 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.

Photo from Calistemon/Wikipedia