Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has confirmed a major milestone in the delivery of the Royal Australian Navy’s SEA 1180 Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels, with construction of the first vessel in WA commencing.
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 12 Arafura Class OPVs, and the first to be built at the Civmec shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said this is the next step in the government’s landmark naval shipbuilding program that will keep Australia safe and deliver jobs for generations to come.
"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 reinforced the comments made by the Defence Minister, saying 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.
"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," Minister Price said.
The first two vessels are already under construction by Lūrssen Australia and ASC in Adelaide. The remaining 10 vessels will be constructed by Lūrssen Australia and Civmec at Henderson in Western Australia under the SEA 1180 OPV program.
Lūrssen Australia is the prime contractor working with key shipbuilding partners Civmec in Western Australia and ASC in South Australia to deliver the OPV capability for the Royal Australian Navy.
The program will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the Armidale Class and Cape Class patrol boats, which entered service in 2005.
"I congratulate Lūrssen, Civmec and their entire teams for exceeding their commitment to Australian industry capability, which is having substantial positive flow-on effects right across Australia, particularly during this difficult time as we all manage COVID-19," Minister Price added.
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.
It is estimated the $3.6 billion SEA 1180 project will create around 1,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Lürssen 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).