CANBERRA, Australia, May 6 (UPI) -- Austal Ships of Australia is to build and sustain as many as 21 steel-hulled boats as part of the country's Pacific Maritime Security Program.
The Australian Department of Defense, which signed a contract for the vessels on Thursday, said the contract carries a value of about $209 million.
Support for the vessels over a seven-year period will be performed by the company under a contract worth about $17.9 million.
The vessels are to replace the country's aging Pacific Patrol boats.
Construction of the new vessels will start next year. The first delivery will take place in late 2018.
Two of the new Austal vessels will be offered to Timor-Leste for an agreed-upon fixed price the ministry reported.
Timor-Leste is the newest member of Australia's Pacific Maritime Security Program, which involves a dozen regional countries.