“Trinidad & Tobago Orders 2 Cape-class Patrol Boats from Austal” –Naval News

The Australian Customs patrol boat ACV Cape St George on Darwin Harbour in 2014, Photo by Ken Hodge

Naval News reports that Trinidad and Tobago has signed a deal for two Cape Class 58 meter patrol vessels from Austal in Australia. Contract is valued at 126M A$ or about $85.4M US. That is less than the cost of our Webber class cutters. Not that I think the USCG is in the market for anything like this right now. (Perhaps the Navy might consider it.) Still a comparison is interesting.

The Cape Class is a enlarged, improved version of the earlier Armidale class patrol vessels. The Cape Class was originally developed for the Australian Border Force, but the Australian Navy is currently also operating two of the class. Compared to the Webber class.

  • Displacement about twice as large: 700 tons vice 353
  • Length: 57.8 m (190 ft) vice 46.8 m (154 ft)
  • Beam: 10.3 m (34 ft) vice 8.11 m (26.6 ft)
  • Draft: 3 m (9.8 ft) vice 2.9 m (9.5 ft)
  • HP, less: 6,772 vice 11,600
  • Speed, slower: 25 vice 28
  • Crew, smaller: 18 vice 24
  • Boats: two on davits vice one in stern ramp

The dramatic difference seems to be range and endurance, 28 days and 4,000 miles vs five days and 2,500 miles, although I continue to believe the Webber class’ endurance could be improved with only a little effort. These little ships also have aluminum hulls, while the Webber class hull is steel. Also the Australian ships are armed with nothing larger than crew served machine guns. That appears to be just a matter of choice but it would increase the cost.

In some ways these look a lot like the French “La Confiance” PLG. meaning they are similar to the Cutter X concept, although I would favor something a little larger so that it might be able to operate a helicopter.

Our previous contributor on the Tinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, Sanjay Badir-Maharaj, questions the wisdom of this purchase, since The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard seems to be having trouble maintaining the vessels it has now. Some degree of maintenance is included apparently, we wish them luck.

10 thoughts on ““Trinidad & Tobago Orders 2 Cape-class Patrol Boats from Austal” –Naval News

  1. But then again, what’s the likelihood of both “T&T’s” “Capes” operating near or even encountering “Sea Ice” of any kind during their deployment…

  2. Since these are cutters, they are lightly armed. But I like their size, endurance and range as an OPV type ship.
    Perhaps a dual-service ship, but obviously a good example of parent ship design. Of course they are built to civilian rules, which should be seen as minimum acceptable.
    Yielding a good price. Think how many upgraded versions one could procure for one of those extra LCS? With weapons and sensors maybe $100 million reach?
    P. S. I like boats in davits.

  3. Philippine Navy plans to acquire six “Cape” class 80-meter Patrol Boats similar to that of “Trinidad & Tobago” purchase…

    ( https : // www . pna . gov . ph / articles / 1078714 )

  4. “Lost In Translation”! The original Austral 50-meter OPV, was the 56.8-meter “Armidale” class built in 1993. Which was loosely based on the Danish-made “Flyvefisken” class which had a “Fiberglass” hull. Three designs were submitted by Austral for the “Amridale” class Patrol Boat, first being made of “Fiberglass”, second of “Steel” and third of “Aluminum” which had an ~21% greater range than the Steel Hulled version. The RAN “Armidale” class was Steel Hulled, and “Civmec Construction and Engineering” of Henderson, Western Australia supplied the Steel. This is where it gets “Lost In Translation”, which was the Original. Original being “Fiberglass” as being the first construction material offered, or “Steel” as to which the “Armidale” was actually constructed…

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