Construction of the first Arafura-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) that will be built in Western Australia has commenced, marking a new milestone in the program for an eventual 12 ships under Project SEA 1180.
This will be the third of twelve Arafura class OPVs, and the first to be built at the Civmec shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia following the first two ships which are being built in Osborne, South Australia by Luerssen Australia and ASC.
Minister for Defence, Senator Linda Reynolds said this is the next step in the government’s continuous naval shipbuilding program.
“This Government’s investment in Australia’s naval shipbuilding program demonstrates our commitment to strong border protection over greater distances than is currently possible, and our commitment in the local economy and creating more jobs for Australian workers,” Minister Reynolds said.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the OPV program is a key foundation in the Government’s enhancement of Australia’s industrial skill base, growing both capacity and workers’ skills to build and maintain Australia’s sovereign maritime capability.
She added that “the Arafura program is creating jobs across the supply-chain, and I have heard first-hand from over 100 Aussie businesses about how they are benefiting from being an essential part of construction,”
Ten of the twelve OPVs will be constructed by Luerssen Australia and Civmec at Henderson in Western Australia under SEA1180. The OPVs are based on the Luerssen OPV80 design, and will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the Armidale Class and Cape Class Patrol Boats which entered service in 2005.
The OPVs will have a helicopter landing pad, although the first three vessels will not have any aviation capability built in due to the need to start construction as a matter of urgency. This will likely be retrofitted, while future vessels will operate the future unmanned Vertical Take-Off and Landing system that is being procured under Project SEA 129.