On the record: Armidale Class Patrol Boat fleet

Published on Chief of the Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs (author), LEUT Sarah West (photographer)

Topic(s): On The Record

File image: An Armidale Class Patrol Boat during transit from Darwin to Sydney.  (photo: LEUT Sarah West)
File image: An Armidale Class Patrol Boat during transit from Darwin to Sydney.

Today in the Australian newspaper there was an article titled Times up for Navy Asylum Fleet. This article discussed the Armidale Class Patrol Boat Fleet. There were a number of errors in the article.

The article describes the patrol boat fleet as a $3.5 billion fleet. This is incorrect, the 14 Armidale Class Patrol Boats were purchased for a total cost of $488m.

The article also states that vessels currently on border protection duty around Christmas Island are not allowed to operate in seas more than 2.5m high. This is not correct. All vessels currently assigned to OPERATION RESOLUTE have had interim repairs conducted to rectify engine room cracking, and do have operational limitations until the fully engineered repair solution is implemented. These limitations have no absolute wave height restrictions, the wave height determines the maximum speed the vessel can proceed at. These operational limitations have minimal impact on the Armidale’s ability to conduct the range of border protection missions they are assigned to.

Defence is considering the replacement to the Armidale Class as highlighted in the 2013 Defence White Paper. Any proposal put to Government will include options, rather than a definitive solution. These options are likely to include both steel and aluminium based hull designs.

Navy is providing the required number of Armidale Class Patrol boats to Border Protection command.

RJ GRIGGS
Vice Admiral
Chief of Navy