A decision on which of three shortlisted designs will be selected for the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) future Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) will not be made until the third quarter of 2017, the Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann, told a parliamentary committee on 18 October.
The minister, however, failed to respond directly to questions on whether this meant that construction of the first of the 12 OPVs, intended to replace the RAN's 13-strong fleet of Armidale-class patrol craft, would not begin in 2018 as scheduled.
The government had announced in April 2016 that Dutch company Damen and German shipbuilders Lürssen and Fassmer would compete in a comparative evaluation process (CEP) to determine the designer of the OVPs, which are set to be acquired under Project SEA 1180, Phase 1.
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