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Royal Australian Navy launches first of six Evolved Cape-class patrol boats.

| 2021

According to information published by the Royal Australian Navy on October 19, 2021, the first of six Evolved Cape-class patrol boats was recently launched at the Austal Ships shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Evolved Cape-class patrol boat (Picture source: Twitter account of Andy Whiting)

Head Maritime Systems Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm said the vessels would replace the Navy’s Armidale-class patrol boats and would be used as interim patrol platforms until the commissioning of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels.

Austal has commenced construction on the remaining five boats, the first of which is expected to be accepted by the Navy early next year.

The 58-metre long boats are being built with a number of enhancements, improving operational capability and crew capacity compared to the vessels already operated by the Navy and Australian Border Force.

Each vessel is 57.8 m (189 ft 8 in) in length, with a beam of 10.3 m (33 ft 10 in) and a draught of 3 m (9 ft 10 in).

Propulsion machinery consists of two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines, providing 5,050 kW (6,770 hp) to two propeller shafts. A 160 kW (210 hp) bow thruster is also fitted. Maximum speed is 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph), with a range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph), and an endurance of 28 days.

Each vessel has a crew of 18, and two crew groups are assigned to each vessel, alternating between operating the patrol boat and shore duties, to ensure maximum vessel availability.

Each Cape-class vessel is armed with two .50 caliber machine guns and carries two 7.3 m (24 ft) Gemini RHIB interception craft in cradles at the stern, along with a small boat carried amidships.

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