Surface Forces: August 7, 2000

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Australia has again delayed plans to issue a request for bids for a class of 16 new Replacement Patrol Boats to replace the old Fremantle-class patrol craft. The Replacement Patrol Boats will be built to commercial standards to save money, and will be used for duties such as surveillance, interception, investigation, apprehension, and arrest of smugglers and fishing zone violators. Each boat will be 50-60m long and will mount a 30mm cannon and several machineguns. Contractors, however, are unhappy with the plan and doubt that Australia can really afford the vessels. The plan reportedly is for a long-term lease rather than an outright purchase, and the contractors are required to buy the old Fremantles from Australia and resell them to customers approved by the Australian government.--Stephen V Cole

 


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