Navy OPV construction begins in South Australia

Luerssen's OPV 80. Source: luerssen-defence.com

Construction has commenced on the Australian Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) at Osborne in South Australia.

Twelve of the OPVs are to be supplied to the Navy. German shipbuilder Luerssen is the prime contractor to supply the 12 new OPVs for the navy, and will work with Australia’s ASC for the building the first two OPVs. Construction of the other 10 vessel will then move to Civmec in WA in 2020.

“The OPV project is expected to create up to 1000 direct and indirect jobs,” defence minister Christopher Pyne said.

Pyne said ASC Shipbuilding will use its expertise gained through the Air Warfare Destroyer program to build the first two OPVs.

“These new vessels are being built in Australian facilities, with Australian steel, and by Australian workers,” he said.

“Only a year ago we announced Luerssen was the preferred tenderer. It’s a fantastic achievement to start construction on time and on budget and I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project.”

Finance minister Mathias Cormann said ASC had consistently demonstrated its capacity to deliver high quality vessels for the Royal Australian Navy.

“ASC’s workforce has already delivered two state-of-the-art Air Warfare Destroyers, with a third due next year. They are also exceeding their performance benchmarks in support of our Collins Class submarine fleet,” Cormann said.

“We look forward to ASC continuing their strong work on the first two Offshore Patrol Vessels that begin construction today.”

The OPVs will be built using Australian steel. After being prepared and processed in Western Australia, the steel will be delivered to South Australia.

Steelwork is also now underway at Civmec’s new $85 million facility at Henderson, which will be large enough large enough to house multiple OPVs for construction. The facility will also include a blast and paint workshop, undercover storage, offices and carparks.