Papua New Guinea receives 3rd Guardian-class patrol boat from Australia


The NUSHIP Francis Agwi (403), which was handed over to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force Maritime Element. Photo c/o Austal.

Australian shipbuilder Austal has handed over the 3rd Guardian-class patrol boat for Papua New Guinea to the Australian Department of Defence, which was then handed-over to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF).

The patrol boat, which was named NUSHIP Francis Agwi (403), was  handed over to the PNGDF at Austal's shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia on 22 October 2021.

Among those present on the handover ceremonies were Head of Maritime System, Australian Department of Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm, Senior Australian Defence Force Officer in Western Australia Air Commodore Fiona Dowse, Royal Australian Navy HMAS Stirling Commanding Officer Captain Gary Lawton, and PNGDF Maritime Element NUSHIP Francis Agwi Commanding Officer Lieutenant Elizah Lourie.

The boat was donated by the Australian Government to the PNGDF as part of the A$350 million SEA 3036-1 Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement (PPB-R) Project, under the Australian Government's Pacific Maritime Security Program which involves delivering 4 new Guardian-class patrol boats to the PNGDF.

Aside from Papua New Guinea, eleven other Pacific Island nations that received or will receive Guardian-class patrol boats under the program are Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste. 

These countries will receive the vessels from Australia through to 2023.

No date has been set yet on the commissioning of the patrol boat with the PNGDF.

The boat is also the 13th Guardian-class patrol boat built by Austal, with 8 more boats under construction for several other Pacific island countries including Papua New Guinea's 4th ship of the class.

These boats would be used for border patrols and policing, search and rescue, and other missions to support of the recipient governments.

The project not only improves the maritime security capability of the said nations, but also allows the creating of 200 direct jobs and 200 indirect jobs within Australia.

The Guardian-class are steel-hulled monohull patrol boats that made extensive use of commercial off the shelf parts for easy maintenance. They have a length of 39.5 meters, a beam of 8 meters, and draft of 2.5 meters.

The boats are powered by two Caterpillar 3516C diesel engines allowing a speed of more than 20 knots, and a range of 3,000 nautical miles at 12 knots.

It has a crew of 23 men, and was designed to allow a naval gun of up to 30mm calibre, and for port and starboard side 12.7mm heavy machine guns.

The steel monohull patrol boat – designed, constructed and sustained by Austal Australia – is based on a proven design platform that has included the 38 metre Bay-class, 56 metre Armidale-class and 58 metre Cape-class patrol boats that are in service with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.

[1] Austal

Papua New Guinea receives 3rd Guardian-class patrol boat from Australia Papua New Guinea receives 3rd Guardian-class patrol boat from Australia Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on November 01, 2021 Rating: 5

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