Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Austal's Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project will move forward after completing its detailed design review, the company announced.
The detailed design review, or DDR, supports Austal's $234 million contract with the government of Australia to produce 19 steel vessels to bolster the region's maritime security assets. Austal officials praised the DDR completion as a critical step for the program.
"Achieving DDR on a Commonwealth shipbuilding project is a significant milestone, particularly as this was achieved within 8 months from the Contract Effective Date," project manager Matthew Klingberg said in a press release. "This was made possible by the dedicated efforts of both the Austal and Commonwealth teams, working together in an open and collaborative manner."
The Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, or PPB-R, includes the design, construction, delivery, training and sustainment for the vessels, which will each measure 131 feet long. Following delivery, the vessels will be gifted to 12 Pacific island nations as part of Australia's Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Austal hopes to begin construction for the ships in April 2017, and expects to begin deliveries between 2018 and 2023. The work will be conducted in Western Australia.
The Pacific Patrol Boats will be based on Austal's existing patrol boat design platform. The boats are able to accommodate 23 people, reach speeds of 12 knots, and travel at a range of 3,000 nautical miles.