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Austal launches 7th Evolved Cape class patrol boat ADV Cape Solander.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by Austal Australia on April 29, 2024, Austal Australia has successfully launched the 7th Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat, named the future ADV Cape Solander.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Evolved Cape class patrol boat ADV Cape Solander. (Picture source: Austal)

Austal's build and acceptance strategy has enabled the majority of the vessel’s fit-out and commissioning to be completed in the assembly bay rather than in the water. This approach significantly reduces the amount of work required post-launch, allowing for quicker deployment and less time spent dockside.

Austal has already delivered six 58-meter Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats since May 2020. Following recent government announcements in November 2023 and February 2024, Austal is set to deliver four additional vessels over the next two years, further supporting the operational readiness of the Royal Australian Navy.

About the class

These vessels, initiated in 2011 and built by Austal, were intended to replace the older Bay-class patrol boats and began entering operational service starting in 2013. Originally planned as replacements for the Bay class in 2010, the tender for the new, larger patrol boats was issued in June of that year.

Austal was selected to build eight boats on 12 August 2011. Each of these boats measures 57.8 meters in length, with a beam of 10.3 meters and a draft of 3 meters. They are powered by two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines that generate 5,050 kW of power, driving two propeller shafts, and are equipped with a 160 kW bow thruster.

These vessels can achieve a top speed of 25 knots and have a range of 4,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 12 knots, with an operational endurance of 28 days. The crew complement for each boat is 18, split into two groups that alternate between sea duties and shore responsibilities to optimize availability.

Armaments include two .50 caliber machine guns, and each vessel is equipped with two 7.3-meter Gemini RHIBs for interception, positioned at the stern, plus a smaller boat amidships. The design also incorporated several modifications in response to performance issues noted with the Armidale-class vessels.

Construction commenced in February 2012, with the boats entering service progressively from March 2013 to August 2015. The entire project had a budget of A$330 million, which included ongoing support services provided by Austal, marking it as the most substantial procurement by the Customs and Border Protection Service to date.

The RAN commissioned six more 'Evolved' Cape-class vessels in May 2020, featuring numerous upgrades and an increased crew capacity from 22 to 32. Two additional boats were ordered in April 2022.

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