Four brand-new patrol boats for the Armed Forces of Malta are due to arrive in Malta this evening on a cargo ship.

The inshore patrol vessels were built by the Australian shipyard Austal to AFM specifications.

The 21-metre boats are being delivered just nine months after the contract for them was signed.

They can reach speeds of over 26 knots and perform a number of roles, however, they will primarily be used for surveillance and patrolling.

The boats will be equipped with 12.7mm main machine guns, two 7.6mm light machine guns as well as fire-fighting and rescue equipment.

The new vessels, costing €9.3m, have been partly financed by the EU.

They will replace two Swift-class boats, donated by the American government in 1971 and a former East German Bremse-class patrol boat bought from Germany after the reunification of that country.

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