The Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes made a courtesy visit to the Commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto at his office at Berkley Crescent.
Director Peacekeeping Operations and Advisor to the RFMF Commander Lieutenant Colonel Pacolo Luveni said, in this visit Mr Feakes said the replacement of the Kula, a Guardian class patrol vessel will be arriving into Fiji on March 2020 and not in 2022.
He said that this was great news for the RFMF.
A release from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) said: “Guardian class patrol boats are a class of small patrol vessels designed and built in Australia for small Pacific Ocean countries.”
It said the Pacific Patrol Boat contract was awarded to a company, Austal, in May, 2016 and is worth AUS$305m (FJ$483million) for the original 19 vessels and associated in-service support.
These 39.5 metre, steel-hulled vessels will be delivered to 13 nations from late 2018 as part of Australia’s US$2 billion (FJ$3.1 billion) commitment to regional maritime security through the Pacific Maritime Security Programme.
The programme is called Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Programme (PPBR).
The all-new Pacific Patrol Boat is based on Austal’s proven patrol boat design platform and is 39.5 metres long with a beam of 8 metres and a loaded draft of 2.5 metres.
It is capable of travelling at 20 knots and at 12 knots possesses a 3000 nautical mile range.
Each vessel can accommodate 23 people.
The boats are currently under construction by Austal, with the keel for the first vessel laid on July 31, 2017.