Inaccurate reporting on Armidale Class Patrol Boats
24 March 2014
Today in The Australian newspaper an article titled ‘Times up for Navy Asylum Fleet’ 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 $488 million.
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 Armidales’ 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.
Chief of Navy