USE THIS ONEThe government’s National Shipbuilding Program has reached another milestone with the keel laying on Friday (11 September) for the first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) under construction in WA.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds. (PHOTO: Government Photo)

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the keel laying is an important naval tradition that brings good luck to the build of the ship and the life of the vessel by placing a coin under the keel. “This milestone marks the start of the consolidation phase for the third Arafura Class ship to be built in Australia, named Pilbara by the Chief of Navy,” Reynolds said. “It demonstrates the success of this government’s Naval Shipbuilding plan, with eight vessels already built and another 10 vessels currently under construction at Henderson and Osborne. Western Australia is playing a key role in the development of our national naval shipbuilding enterprise, and the government’s A$4.7 billion OPV program is spearheading the implementation of this plan and connecting with Australian industry. Since construction commenced ahead of schedule in March, the Luerssen and Civmec teams in WA have continued to make significant progress on building the blocks that, when complete, will form a 1,600 tonne 80 metre long OPV. Made with Australian steel, cut locally in WA, the OPVs will offer greater endurance to undertake maritime patrol and response duties, as well as support specialist missions.”

Hon Melissa Price MP
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the keel laying was of extra significance for her given the Pilbara was in her electorate of Durack. “I have no doubt that people in my electorate and the wider WA community will be as proud as I am of the fact that this ship will be known as Pilbara, particularly given the region’s remarkable contribution to this country,” Price said. “I am very pleased that Luerssen and Civmec have been able to reach this milestone in such a timely manner, and I have no doubt that is due in part to the practices they put in place to deal with COVID-19. This project has created about 400 jobs here in Perth and involved more than 300 businesses across the Australian supply chain. It is on track to achieve more than 60 percent local industry content.”

The OPVs are based on the Lürssen PV80 design. The first two vessels are under construction at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, and will be followed by 10 ships to be built at the Henderson shipyard.


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  1. A cannon and a few machine guns? Seriously? Has our defence forces become so politically centric to appease voters rather than what our defence forces really need to take to a fight? I sure hope these OPVs get more serious weapon systems. I feel sorry for our brave young crews being left out to dry and put in harms way for the sake of appeasing political agendas and voters. Sad ☹️


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