Asia PacificSea

Fiji Accepts Second Guardian Patrol Boat From Australia

Canberra has delivered the second Guardian-class patrol boat to Fiji as part of the Australian government’s Pacific Maritime Security Program (PMSP).

The PMSP is a 30-year framework agreement costing approximately 2 billion Australian dollars ($1.3 billion) to enhance the maritime fleet, aerial surveillance, and regional coordination for Pacific Island nations and Timor-Lesté.

Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka received the latest vessel, RFNS Puamau, during a handover ceremony at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.

Its arrival follows the delivery of the first Fiji Guardian patrol boat, RFNS Savenaca, in 2020.

“Australia is proud to be Fiji’s security partner of choice,” Australian International Development and the Pacific Minister Pat Conroy stated.

“The delivery of the second Guardian-class Patrol Boat today is a tangible demonstration of our Vuvale Partnership. By enhancing Fiji’s maritime security capabilities, we are more effective in tackling our shared regional challenges together.”

Pacific Maritime Security Program

According to Guardian fleet developer Austal, the Puamau is the 19th vessel handed over under the PMSP and the first of four platforms to be delivered to Australia’s partner nations this year.

The company received the initial contract for the PMSP patrol boat initiative in 2016, with options for additional vessels awarded in 2018 and 2022.

Guardian-class patrol boat
Guardian-class patrol boat. Photo: Austal

“Savenaca has already proven to be an invaluable addition to the Republic of Fiji Navy, undertaking successful missions throughout Fiji’s territorial waters since 2020, including combined maritime patrol and interoperability training with the Royal Australian Navy, in 2022,” Austal Limited CEO Paddy Gregg said.

“I have no doubt that RFNS Puamau will further strengthen Fiji’s naval capabilities and our regional security, through effective naval operations with Australia and partnerships with other Pacific Island neighbours, as part of the Australian Government’s [PMSP].”

Guardian Patrol Boats

Each Guardian vessel measures 39.5 meters (139 feet) and has an 8-meter (26-foot) beam.

It is powered by two Caterpillar diesel engines with 2,100 horsepower for a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 kilometers/23 miles per hour) and a range of 3,000 nautical miles (5,600 kilometers/3,500 miles).

The boat can carry up to 23 personnel aboard and can be fitted with various naval weapons depending on user requirements, including a 20-millimeter main gun, 12.7-millimeter machine guns, and 20-millimeter remote weapon systems.

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