The Australian Department of Defence has announced it will arm the Papua New Guinea Defence Force’s four new Guardian-class Patrol Boats, The Mandarin has reported.
According to the report, the department said that the equipment would be delivered through the Pacific Maritime Security Programme along with a “comprehensive support and training package”.
Under the $2 billion, 30-year programme, Australia will deliver 21 Guardian-class Patrol Boats to 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor-Lesté between 2018 and 2023.
PNG received the first of these boats, HMPNGS Ted Diro, in 2018 and HMPNGS Rochus Lokinap this year.
Two more 39.5 metre steel patrol boats are being designed and built by Austal in Western Australia.
The defence said PNG had requested the equipment to respond to the maritime challenges it shares with Australia, including illegal fishing and transnational crime.
“This will ensure a continuity of Papua New Guinea’s sovereign capabilities, with its Pacific-class Patrol Boats previously armed,” the department said.
Defence said Australia and PNG were committed to signing a memorandum of understanding to ensure compliance with their domestic and international obligations.