Construction commences for first OPV in WA

picture credit: Australian Government Department of Defence

The department of defence has announced the first Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) will be built in Western Australia as part of the federal government’s $90 billion Continuous Naval Shipbuilding Program.

This will be the third of twelve Arafura class OPVs, and the first to be built at the Civmec shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.

Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds said in the media release that this is the next step in the government’s naval shipbuilding program that will keep Australia safe and deliver jobs for a long time.

“This government’s investment in Australia’s naval shipbuilding program demonstrates our commitment to strong border protection over greater distances than is currently possible, and our commitment in the local economy and creating more jobs for Australian workers,” Reynolds said.

In what Reynold’s said that this “milestone” reinforces the OPV program is on schedule to deliver the capability for the Royal Australian Navy when the first ship commences service in 2022.

Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price MP said the OPV program is a key foundation in the government’s enhancement of Australia’s industrial skill base, growing both capacity and workers’ skills to build and maintain Australia’s sovereign maritime capability.

“The Arafura program is creating jobs across the supply-chain, and I have heard first-hand from over 100 Aussie businesses about how they are benefiting from being an essential part of construction,” Price said.

She also congratulated Luerssen, Civmec and their entire teams for “exceeding their commitment to Australian Industry Capability which is having substantial positive flow-on effects right across Australia” during the COVID-19 crisis that the country is going through.

The first two vessels are already under construction by Luerssen Australia and ASC in Adelaide.

The remaining ten vessels will be constructed by Luerssen Australia and Civmec at Henderson in Western Australia under the SEA1180 OPV program.

Luerssen Australia is the Prime Contractor working with key shipbuilding partners Civmec in Western Australia and ASC OPV Shipbuilder in South Australia to deliver the OPV capability for the Royal Australian Navy.

The program will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the Armidale Class and Cape Class Patrol Boats which entered service in 2005.