Austal, Western Australia, has launched the first two 21.2-metre aluminium patrol vessels for the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) less than seven months from initial contract signing.
Launch of the remaining two aluminium vessels in the order will occur in coming weeks, with the four-vessel fleet on schedule for delivery in November.
The vessels are designed to assist the AFM with surveillance and border protection throughout Malta’s coastal waters. As such, each vessel will be equipped with several machine guns and able to reach speeds of more than 26 knots.
To reach these speeds, the vessels are powered by twin MAN D2842 LE410 engines rated 809kW at 2,100rpm.
The patrol boats are 21.2 metres long, on a beam of 5.5 metres and a depth of 2.8 metres. The maximum design draught is 1.83 metres at a deadweight of six tonnes.
Classified by DNV, the vessels also contain a fire monitor on the aft flybridge deck, while a radio direction finder capable of tracking emergency frequencies allows the vessels to perform search and rescue operations.
Austal Business Development Manager for Defence, Jamie Robinson, said the vessel platform was capable of performing a number of different roles.
“One of the standout characteristics of these vessels is their versatility, particularly considering the size,” Mr Robinson said.
Adding to their versatility is a bilge manifold located above the main aft deck, which can perform salvage pumping of another vessel if needed. A stern launching ramp allows the safe deployment and retrieval of a rigid hull inflatable boat and dive operations are also supported via low-to-the-water platforms located aft.
Sea trials of the first two vessels will take place over coming weeks.