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Aussie SMEs recognised for work on Arafura Class OPV program

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price, WA Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia and Lürssen Australia hosted a group of Australian SMEs to recognise their contribution to supporting the $3.6 billion SEA 1180 program.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price, WA Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia and Lürssen Australia hosted a group of Australian SMEs to recognise their contribution to supporting the $3.6 billion SEA 1180 program.

The awards highlighted the significant contribution of Lürssen Australia’s local partners in helping the Australian government create and maintain a sovereign shipbuilding capability.

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The awards coincided with the two-year anniversary of Lürssen Australia signing the SEA 1180 contract with the Commonwealth government (also known as the Arafura Class OPV program).

At the time of signing the agreement, Lürssen Australia committed to the build using Australian shipyards, Australian Small to Medium Enterprises, Australian labour and Australian steel.

Lürssen Australia CEO Jens Nielsen highlighted achievements to date: "Two years ago, we committed to 60 per cent Australian industry capability and as of today we have achieved 62.7 per cent. 

"In two years we have achieved the scheduled design integration milestones in parallel with cutting steel since fourth quarter 2018. Construction of our 12 vessels is well on the way to ensure a timely handover to support Royal Australian Navy capability."

Nielsen also acknowledged the unprecedented devastation recent bushfires have caused across the nation. The wider Lürssen family, led by Peter Lürssen, monitored the news from Australia over the summer break.

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In his concluding remarks, Nielsen reiterated Lürssen Australia’s optimism for the next phase in its collaboration with local partners in securing Australia’s shipbuilding future.

"We are proud to transfer Lürssen’s experience, design and technical skill to Australia to help create a sovereign industry, which we are all part of," said Nielsen.

SEA 1180 Phase 1 OPVs will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the 13 Armidale Class patrol boats by acquiring 12 new vessels, which will be known as the Arafura Class when they enter service from 2022.

The primary role of the OPV will be to undertake constabulary missions and the OPV will be the primary ADF asset for maritime patrol and response duties.

A competitive evaluation process (CEP) commenced in late 2015 and concluded with the signing of a contract with Lürssen Australia on 31 January 2018.

Lead ship HMAS Arafura, named after the Arafura Sea in northern Australia, is currently under construction at the ASC Shipyard in Osborne, South Australia.

The project will move to Henderson in Western Australia in 2020 where 10 OPVs will be built by Civmec in partnership with Lürssen Australia. It is estimated the $3.6 billion SEA 1180 project will create around 1,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Lürssen is a global leader in designing and building ships of the highest quality for demanding customers all over the world.

The German company beat out bids from Dutch company Damen, which was also partnered with ASC and Civmec, as well as German company Fassmer, which was in a joint venture with Austal, for the SEA 1180 project.

Civmec is an integrated, multi-disciplinary construction and engineering services provider to the oil and gas, metals and minerals, infrastructure, and marine and defence sectors.

Headquartered in Henderson, WA, Civmec has regional offices in Broome (WA), Darwin (Northern Territory), Newcastle and Sydney (NSW), and Gladstone (Queensland).

Aussie SMEs recognised for work on Arafura Class OPV program
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