Army accepts new regional support vessel

A locally built regional support craft has entered service with Army to help boost maritime security in northern Australia.

The Australian Army’s 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment (51 FNQR), has accepted a new 12.5-metre regional support watercraft built by NSW-based Yamba Welding & Engineering.

The vessel, named RSC Kuursi was officially handed over during a ceremony on Wednesday, 28 April, attended by Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr.

LTGEN Burr said the craft’s integration into the Zenadth Kes waters would support maritime operations in the region from a permanent base in Thursday Island.

“Regional support craft Kuursi is an exciting new maritime capability for Army and will boost our sovereign border protection activities in far north Queensland,” LTGEN Burr said.

“This new vessel expands 51 FNQR’s littoral projection capability from the unit’s previous watercraft, with improved range, speed and manoeuvrability.

RSC Kuursi is expected to be deployed by regional force surveillance units for search and rescue, recovery, casualty evacuation, stores and equipment transfer, community engagement and surveillance missions.

“51 FNQR plays a critical operational role in conducting surveillance patrols in the sparsely populated and remote regions of far north Queensland,” LTG Burr added.

The Chief of Army went on to acknowledge the service of 51 FNQR, which completed 645 days on Operation Resolute during 2020–22.

“This visit to Thursday Island and the Torres Strait Islands is an opportunity for me to personally recognise 51 FNQR,” he said.

“Their efforts over an extended period of high operational tempo, with deployments over the past two years to Operation Resolute, are just the examples of Army’s values that all units should embody.”

Welcoming the addition of RSC Kuursi, Australian Border Force (ABF) Acting Inspector for the Torres Strait, Hannah Standen, noted the importance of the craft in shoring up the nation’s security.

“The ABF and ADF have worked hand-in-hand for many years now in the Torres Strait, so it’s really positive to see a further increase in our collective maritime capabilities within this remote region,” she said.

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