High Speed Caribbean Patrol Boats Completed
Maritime security in the Caribbean region has been bolstered with the delivery of six high speed aluminium patrol craft for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG).
Capable of speeds greater than 40 knots and armed with general purpose machine guns and a 20mm cannon, the 30 metre vessels — designed and built by Australian shipbuilder Austal — will expand the TTCG’s surveillance and enforcement capability in the region.
|One of six high speed patrol boats for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard
The on-schedule, on-budget delivery of the fleet was achieved less than two years from the initial order, with the final vessels arriving in Trinidad and Tobago via heavy lift ship on January 18.
Director of Trinidad’s Defence Transformation and Integration Secretariat, CDRE Garnet Best, said the vessels would be used to create a security blanket around the waters of Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are confident that the speed of the vessels will contribute to their effectiveness in the interdiction of illegal drugs,” CDRE Best said.
“These vessels have been very well designed to perform numerous roles including customs and immigration border control, fire services and prisoner transport, protection of our marine environment as well as protection of our oil and gas resources.”
As well as superior manoeuvrability and speed, the patrol boats benefit from the reduced structural weight, improved fuel economy and enhanced corrosion resistance that typifies Austal’s aluminium platforms.
Austal is now set to deliver a five-year comprehensive maintenance and support services program for the vessels as part of an additional contract. Included in this will be scheduled planned and preventative maintenance support, unscheduled maintenance, management and performance of annual surveys and maintenance periods, as well as shore based engineering support.
Austal Director – Sales and Australian Operations, Andrew Bellamy, said the six-vessel fleet reinforced not only Austal’s unique brand of high performance defence platforms but also the importance of customised vessel support packages.
“These state-or-the-art patrol platforms will play an integral role in modernising Caribbean maritime security,” Mr Bellamy said.
“Ensuring that the right support structures are in place can be as important as the vessels themselves. From pre-delivery crew training to ongoing vessel maintenance via our newly established service hub in Trinidad, Austal is pleased to be providing an all-inclusive support package to the TTCG.”
The vessels are named “TTS Scarlet Ibis”, “TTS Hibiscus”, “TTS Humming Bird”, “TTS Chaconia”, “TTS Poui” and “TTS Teak”.
A comprehensive crew training program, facilitated by Austal at its Western Australian facility, was also undertaken during the construction process by more than 90 TTCG personnel. Austal is currently delivering further training on-site in Trinidad.
|Two MTU 16V 2000 M92 diesel engines
The Austal 30 metre fast patrol platform mixes high speed with high endurance and is designed for superior sea keeping and operation in up to Sea State 6 conditions. Their light but strong hard chine, deep “V” monohull delivers manoeuvrability, durability, speed and a draft of only 1.5 metres.
Propulsion consists of two Kamewa 56A3 waterjets featuring advanced mixed flow pump geometry, delivering higher speeds, lower fuel consumption, and the capability to operate in shallow debris-laden water. Advanced electronic controls enable the Captain to manoeuvre the vessel with a high level of precision at high and low speeds.
Powering these are two MTU 16V 2000 M92 diesel engines, designed specifically for patrol craft with low load factors that require a high performance rating. Each engine produces 1630kW at 2450rpm. The propulsion unit combines with the lightweight aluminium hull to deliver a maximum speed of more than 40 knots, a range of 1000nm (at 10 knots) and a small tactical diameter and short crash stop distance.
As well as providing superior visibility, the vessel’s fly bridge features a control station, equipment monitoring, two general-purpose lockers, a signal light and access to the vessel’s PA system and main bridge intercom. Located both port and starboard of the fly bridge are the vessel’s secondary weapons — .50 cal fixed mount general purpose machine guns — with a third located on a removable mount at the vessel’s stern.
The primary weapon is a 20mm cannon mounted on the foredeck and supported by a dedicated magazine locker situated underneath.
Reinforcing its surveillance capability, the vessel’s main bridge features a Northrop Grumman Integrated Bridge System (IBS) utilising new-generation Sperry Marine Visionmaster FTTM navigation technology, including an “X” Band radar system with high speed scanner. Integrated multi-function consoles enhance situational awareness for the bridge watch team. A HF, V/UHF military communications package from CEA Technologies included crew familiarisation.
A Captain’s Cabin and a two-berth Officer’s Cabin, complete with climate control, are situated on the main deck, along with bathroom and locker facilities. Located on the outside aft section of the main deck is space for the vessel’s 4.8 metre Rigid Inflatable Boat (RHIB). Launch and recovery of the RHIB is achieved via a hydraulic knuckle boom crane.
Ensuring maximum crew habitability during long term surveillance missions is a spacious crew mess, fully equipped galley and laundry facilities, all situated on the lower deck along with four two-berth cabins.
The vessels are classed by Det Norske Veritas — the same classification society used for four 21.5 metre Austal patrol boats built for the Armed Forces of Malta and two large vehicle-passenger catamarans currently under construction at Austal’s Western Australian shipyard.