The first of 12 Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels – NUSHIP Arafura – was launched yesterday at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, Australia Ministry of Defence announced.
First Assistant Secretary Ships Division, Sheryl Lutz, said the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels were one of the foundational projects in the 2017 Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
“Luerssen Australia is contracted to build twelve offshore patrol vessels, two at Osborne Naval Shipyard in Western Australia and ten at Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia.,” Ms Lutz said.
Building the first two OPVs in South Australia enabled experienced shipbuilders from the Hobart class destroyer to be retained and then transitioned to the new Hunter-class frigates, setting the foundation for a continuous sovereign naval shipbuilding industry.
The 80-meter long OPVs will primarily undertake constabulary missions and maritime patrol and response duties.
They will incorporate state-of-the-art sensors and command and communications systems, improving operational capability alongside Australian Border Force vessels, other Australian Defence Force units and Australia’s regional partners.
Minister for Defence the Hon Peter Dutton MP said that the functions undertaken by the patrol boat were becoming increasingly important.
“As we enter a period of unprecedented regional instability and uncertainty, we again forge ahead with this new capability and with new confidence,” Minister Dutton said.
“By 2030, the shipbuilding workforce will grow to over 2000 here at Osborne as part of the 15,000 workers directly employed under the Government’s Naval Shipbuilding Plan.
“These numbers speak obviously of our commitment to building our Navy’s strength to develop our sovereign industrial capabilities and to grow our Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise.”
Check out Naval Library App to find out more about the specifications of the Arafura-class OPVs.