The Government’s $90 billion Continuous Naval Shipbuilding Program has reached a new milestone with construction on the first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) to be built in Western Australia commencing. This will be the third of twelve Arafura class OPVs, and the first to be built at the Civmec shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia. Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said this is the next step in the Morrison Government’s landmark naval shipbuilding program that will keep Australia safe and deliver jobs for generations to come.
The first two vessels are already under construction by Luerssen Australia and ASC in Adelaide. The remaining ten vessels will be constructed by Luerssen Australia and Civmec at Henderson in Western Australia under the SEA1180 OPV program. Luerssen Australia is the Prime Contractor working with key shipbuilding partners Civmec in Western Australia and ASC OPV Shipbuilder in South Australia to deliver the OPV capability for the Royal Australian Navy.
The Arafura class is a multipurpose small warship class for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The program will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the existing Armidale class and Cape class patrol boats, Huon class coastal minehunters, and Leeuwin class survey ships in service with the Royal Australian Navy. The lead patrol vessel in the class, HMAS Arafura, is named after the Arafura Sea in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. It is expected to be delivered to the Australian Navy in 2021 for service entry in 2022.
The design of the Arafura class OPVs is based on the Lürssen OPV80 platform, similar to the Darussalam-class offshore patrol vessel of the Royal Brunei Navy. Two 8.5m-long boats can be launched from the side of the vessel while a 10.5m sea boat can be launched from the stern of the ship. The OPVs will have a length of 80m, beam of 13m, and draught of 4m. The displacement of the vessels will be 1,640t. The ships will be manned by a crew of 40 members and will offer accommodation for more than 60 passengers.