Australian shipbuilders, Austal has announced it has officially signed a US$85 million contract with Trinidad and Tobago to construct two Cape Class patrol boats (CCPB).
The vessels will be delivered in the second half of 2020.
The decision to procure the vessels from Austal was announced after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley led a delegation to Australia in May 2018.
Austal originally designed and built 10 CCPBs for the RAN and the Australian Border Force (ABF), with the 58-metre all aluminium monohull patrol boats specifically designed and manufactured to combat the "full range of maritime security threats".
The vessels have a 4,000 nautical mile range and a 28-day patrol cycle with a crew of up to 22 people, and is fitted with two high-speed rigid hull inflatable boats used for intercepting other vessels.
The statement said that Government has requested that the purchase be supported by a financing package through Export Finance Australia, with the Commonwealth announcing in December last year that the Defence Export Facility would be available to support the programme.
In July last year, Austal revealed that the Government was interested in buying the two CCPB vessels.
Following the signing of an interim Schedule Protection Agreement and the payment of fees, the company commenced construction at its Henderson shipyard in April this year.
Austal chief executive David Singleton said the award of the contract confirmed an important defence export opportunity for Austal and consequent workflow for the company’s operations.
“It is important to acknowledge that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Australian government were instrumental in the success of this defence export program,” Singleton said.
“The RAN, which operates two CCPBs, was an effective advocate of the CCPB capabilities, hosting a sea ride for the visiting Trinidad and Tobago Chief of Defence Staff and engineering team to assess and experience the vessel’s capabilities.
“Austal’s Cape Class Patrol Boats have been deployed in difficult maritime situations, intercepting irregular arrivals and preventing illegal smuggling. This proven capability has attracted attention from a number of export markets, including Trinidad and Tobago," Singleton said.