Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR October 2016 Contents 54 Asia Pacific Defence Reporter OCT 2016
New Pacific Patrol Boat – artist’s impression.
Timor Leste on 27 April 2016, however, reveals that
to date the country has not yet accepted the offer.
Delays in the Timorese decision-making process are
likely to be due to the current dispute with Australia
regarding maritime boundaries for the exploitation
of the Greater Sunrise oil and gas fields.
REPLACING THE PATROL BOATS:
THE AUSTAL CONTRACT
On 5 March 2015, Australia’s Defence Materiel
Organisation (DMO) published a request for
tenders (RFT) “for the acquisition and support of
up to 21 Pacific Patrol Boats”, Australian-made.
Bids were received from Teekay Shipping Australia-
Damen, Thales Australia-Forgacs, KBR-Singapore
Technologies Marine (STM), ThyssenKrupp Marine
Systems Australia (TKMSA) and Austal. On 18
April 2016, the DMO announced that Austal was
the preferred tenderer for the programme, and
the company signed a contract on 5 May 2016 for
the construction of 19 steel-hulled patrol boats,
with an option for a further two vessels. The
contract is valued at $280 million, and includes
sustainment and support for an initial seven years
worth approximately $24 million.
The new patrol boats will be 39.5m long, have a
cargo deck area of 16m2 and can accommodate up
to 23 people. They are powered by two Caterpillar
3516C engines, which are controlled electronically
to deliver improved fuel consumption and allows
the boats to travel at a maximum speed of 20 knots.
They will have a maximum range of 3,000m if they
travel at 12knots and will be armed with a 30mm
calibre gun as well as 0.50 calibre general-purpose
machine guns on both sides of the vessel. In terms
of communication systems, the new patrol boats
will be equipped with Inmarsat C, HF and VHF
radio direction finder, VHF / DSC radios, VHF
Aeroband radio, MF / HF DSC radios, UHF military
radio and satellite communications. Finally, they
can carry a Work Ribs Holand fast rescue boat,
certified by SOLAS, which can seat 15 people
and will be a valuable addition for the search and
rescue missions these boats are also called upon
The design characteristics of the new boat
demonstrate that in drafting its RFT, the DMO
took into account the lessons of nearly thirty years
of experience from the original PPB programme.
Based on the reflections of “The Republic of
Palau Exclusive Economic Zone Monitoring, Control
and Surveillance Plan (2016-2021)”, published
in December 2015, their current boat, PSS H.I .
Remeliik, has some limitations despite being the
country’s primary asset for fisheries surveillance
in Palau’s EEZ. Its limited size and speed result
in a considerable amount of time being needed
to patrol an area of 604,000km2, which is further
limited by its ma ximum range of 2,500m. Its size
also constitutes a limitation in relation to conducting
boarding operations in sea state 4 and above.
These issues are likely to be the same across the
twelve PICs that benefitted from the PPB. As such,
the new boats will provide increased endurance,
even in sea state 4, and the establishment of a more
complete communication system, including satellite
communication and military radio, will allow “secure
and effective communication between the vessel
and the shore”.
DELIVERING THE NEW BOATS
A spokesperson for Austal told APDR that,
“construction [of the boats] commences April
2017 through to 2023”, and that the first boat will
be delivered in October 2018 and the last one in
2023. The spokesperson also indicated that the
replacements “will be robust, simple and cost
effective to own, operate and maintain [and that]
the design is the same for each PIC, although
some boats will have different livery to suit the
countries’ intended operating profile, such as
navy, police, etc”.
Local sources in Fiji indicated, in June 2016, that
the Republic of Fiji Navy (RFN) is slated to receive
two new boats in 2022 and 2023 to replace the
three patrol boats currently in operation, RFNS
Kula, RFNS Kikau and RFNS Kiro, and which are
due to reach the end of their life cycle between
2024 and 2025. The local source is cautious to
point out that Australian DoD spokespersons have
indicated the dates may vary as the contracts are
currently being finalised.
Reports from Vanuatu have revealed that the
country will receive one new patrol boat in late 2018
to replace RVS Tukoro, which is currently in service
with the Vanuatu Mobile Force’s Maritime Wing and
which will reach the end of its life cycle in 2017. The
new boat will be a key asset in conducting search
and rescue missions as well as securing Vanuatu’s
“ The Republic of Palau E xclusive Economic
Zone Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Plan
(2016-2021)” indicates that the country is slated
to receive one new patrol boat to replace PSS H.I .
Remeliik, which is due to reach the end of its life
cycle in 2026.
Despite some performance limitations – after all, a
ship of less than 40 metres cannot do everything
the Pacific Patrol Boats will make a significant
contribution to regional security. They are also an
important mechanism for building goodwill between
Australia and the recipient nations.
22/09/2016 5:03 PM
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