The government’s offshore patrol vessel (OPV) program has reached another milestone with the two halves of the first Arafura Class OPV coming together to form a complete hull.
Built by Luerssen Australia and its South Australian partner ASC, it marks the largest industrial manoeuvre at Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI) operations team manoeuvred the two mega-blocks of the ship together, weighing 1,000 tonnes in total, with only millimetres between them.
“It is a source of great pride to see a unified purpose among industry partners Luerssen, ASC and ANI, with defence industry continuing to show resilience to deliver during these challenging times,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The Morrison government is forging ahead with our landmark naval shipbuilding programs to not only deliver the important capabilities needed for the ADF, but provide a significant positive impact to the economy and continue to deliver jobs.”
The first of the OPVs, Arafura, is planned to enter service from the early 2020s and will conduct border protection and maritime patrol missions alongside other Australian and regional partners.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price congratulated ANI on its continued development work in South Australia.
“It is great to see new investments and innovations made as part of this program, with ANI undertaking significant expansion and modernisation of the Osborne Naval Shipyard,” Minister Price said.
“The OPV program is delivering benefits across Australia, with the first two vessels under construction at Osborne in South Australia and the remaining 10 vessels to be built at Henderson in Western Australia.”
Luerssen Australia is the prime contractor working with key shipbuilding partners ASC in South Australia and Civmec in Western Australia to deliver the OPV capability for Defence.
The program of 12 vessels will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the Armidale Class and Cape Class patrol boats.
Video footage can be found here.