The Naval Shipbuilding College has congratulated ASC and Lürssen Australia on the successful completion of the first keel for the Royal Australian Navy’s future Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels.
Production of the first two OPVs has begun in South Australia as part of the government’s $90 billion continuous Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
The college’s Bill Docalovich said it was an important milestone to build the high-tech steel keel on time and on budget.
"There probably hasn’t been this much excitement in Australia over a single maritime keel since Australia II won the America’s Cup," he said.
The program will move to Henderson in Western Australia in 2020, where the final 10 OPVs will be built by Civmec in partnership with Lürssen Australia.
It’s estimated that the $3.6 billion program will create around 1,000 direct and indirect jobs. The OPVs will enter service in 2022 to replace the Armidale Class Patrol Boats and lead the Australian Defence Force’s maritime patrol and response duties.
Accommodating 60 personnel, they will be fitted with a 40mm gun, three 8.4-metre sea boats, command and communication systems and will be able to accept unmanned aerial systems.
The Naval Shipbuilding College was established to develop the highly skilled national workforce needed to implement the Australian government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
A workforce register has been established to support students, workers from adjacent industries or career changers to upskill through education and training providers. It also helps candidates seize the professional career opportunities available in naval shipbuilding by connecting them with future employers.