Combat Fleets

By Eric Wertheim

(Ministry of Defence of Ukraine)

HMPNGS Rabaul underway Her Majesty’s Papua New Guinea Ship Rabaul was decommissioned this past summer, and in October she arrived in Australia to await disposal. The 165-ton Rabaul was the first of four ASI 315-class patrol craft to enter service with Papua New Guinea’s Defence Force Maritime Element and now has become the first to retire. Originally named the Tarangau , she was ordered in 1985 under an Australian foreign aid program and was launched in 1987. The 103-foot vessel was joined by three sisters between 1987 and 1989. More than a dozen nearly identical patrol craft continue to serve with a number of southwest Pacific-area island nations. These vessels typically are manned by a crew of 20 and can be armed with a single 20-mm cannon and two .50-caliber guns. In April 2017, steel was cut for Australia’s first Pacific patrol boat replacement (PPB-R) vessels, which will replace vessels like the Rabaul through the early 2020s.

(Chris S. Atler)

Mr. Wertheim , a defense consultant in the Washington, D.C., area, is the author of the 16th edition of The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World , available from the Naval Institute Press.


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