In 2014, the RAN contracted Austal for the construction of two ‘Cape’ class patrol boats for a total value of $63 million. The ‘Cape’ class can reach a speed of 26 knots (48.2 kilometres-per-hour) and achieve a range of 4000 nautical miles (7400km).
Conceived for the protection of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the ships are armed with two deck-mounted general purpose machine guns, and are equipped with a sensor suite that includes radars capable of receiving information from the maritime Automatic Identification System (AIS). AIS is a transponder-based system mandated for all vessels displacing in excess of 300 tonnes by the International Maritime Organisation.
David Singleton, Austal’s chief executive officer, told asianmilitaryreview.com that the two ships have been built. Delivery to the RAN is scheduled for the first and second quarters of 2017 respectively. He also indicated that there are a couple of Middle Eastern countries interested in acquiring the ‘Cape’ class, however for confidentiality reasons he could not disclose their identity.