Australia begins construction of third Arafura-class OPV

by Gabriel Dominguez

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 27 March that construction work had begun on the third of 12 Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) on order for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

Unlike the first two ships of the class, which are being built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia by Lürssen Australia and government-owned ASC, the vessel is the first of the remaining ten ships of the class set to be built at the Civmec shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.

A computer-generated image of the Arafura class, which is being built under Australia’s Sea 1180 Phase 1 programme. (Luerssen Australia/ASC)

A computer-generated image of the Arafura class, which is being built under Australia’s Sea 1180 Phase 1 programme. (Luerssen Australia/ASC)

“Today’s [27 March] milestone reinforces the OPV programme is on schedule to deliver the capability for the Royal Australian Navy when the first ship commences service in 2022,” Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds was quoted as saying.

The ship is part of an AUD3.6 billion (USD2.5 billion) contract for the OPVs signed in late January 2018 with German shipbuilder Lürssen under Australia’s Sea 1180 Phase 1 programme.

Lürssen's subsidiary, Lürssen Australia, is the prime contractor working with shipbuilding partners Civmec and ASC.

Construction of the first vessel, Arafura , began in November 2018, while work on the second started in June 2019.

The new OPVs, which are based on the PV80 design, are set to replace the RAN’s fleet of Armidale- and Cape-class patrol boats, and also take on some of the duties associated with the Huon-class minehunters as well as Leeuwin- and Paluma-class survey vessels.

For instance, the RAN has pointed out that the OPV’s design “will support specialist mission packages, such as a maritime tactical unmanned aerial system, and into the future, rapid environmental assessment and deployable mine counter measure capabilities”.

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The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 27 March that construction work had begun on...

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