Austal Australia has successfully launched the fifth Evolved Cape class patrol boat (ECCPB) for the Royal Australian Navy.
The future ADV Cape Woolamai, named after the headland at the south-eastern tip of Phillip Island in Victoria, was launched at the Henderson, Western Australia shipyard following approximately 12 months construction and only four months after the launch of the last ECCPB, in September 2022. The Austal team are on track to handover the vessel to Defence Australia later this year.
With the help of our 300-strong supply chain partners, Austal is consistently producing an ECCPB every 12 months and launching every three months; maintaining an impressive record of manufacturing that is helping to build the national naval shipbuilding enterprise and Australia’s sovereign capability.
The new Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats for the Royal Australian Navy include several enhancements that further extend the capability of the proven vessel and the fleet; with modifications developed through the in-service experience of ten Cape-class Patrol Boats already operating with the Navy and Australian Border Force throughout Northern Australia.
While these class of patrol boats are a significant improvement on the original 70s Attack class patrol boat. I would wonder whether there increased weight and size, allows them the speed, agility and firepower to deal with a range of adversaries in our northern waters. What armaments do they carry, and are they effective?
In keeping with the RAN tradition of arming them as lightly as possible, they have two 0.5 inch machine guns.
Sort of makes you wonder what the point is
The RAN is in no rush to enhance capability. The initial Hobart class will be offline for 2 years (at least) from 2026 for an upgrade, reducing us to two major surface combatants.
The Australian Gov needs to accurately gauge our naval needs . No one would doubt the fact that things have changed and that we need a larger more competent navy. Our gov has a lot of catching up to do given the threats we now face.
I dont understand the thinking or doctrine of our senior naval commanders. In 1967 our Attack Class Patrol Boats were armed with a 40mm Bofos gun / 2 x 0.5” heavy machine guns. Move forward 60 years and our new Cape Class Patrol Boats are armed with 2 x 0.5” heavy machine guns. However this thinking is not only confined to Patrol Boats. When you look at the armament carried by equivalent sized vessels in the region the heads of service are putting our sailors in harms way.
Totally agree. It seems bizarre.