First steel cut for OPV shipbuilding project

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

The first steel has been cut for Australia’s Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) program, which is supplying a fleet of 12 for the Navy.

Australian steel is being used for all 12 OPVs. After being prepared and processed in Western Australia, the steel will be delivered to South Australia, where two ships are being built at Osborne by ASC Shipbuilding.

Last month, ASC welcomed permanent representatives from German shipbuilder Luerssen to the Osborne Shipyard ahead of the start of fabrication of the first OPV. Luerssen is the prime contractor to supply the 12 new OPVs for the navy, and will work with ASC for building the first two OPVs.

Read: ASC welcomes Luerssen to Osborne ahead of OPV project take-off

Construction of the other 10 vessel will then move to Civmec in WA in 2020. 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.

The facility project will reportedly create around 140 jobs. Civmec estimates that, when completed, the facility will provide positions for up to 1,000 workers to work on the OPV project, including 100 new apprentices and trainees.

The SEA 1180 Phase 1 OPVs are to replace the 13 Armidale Class Patrol Boats. The primary role of the vessels will be to undertake constabulary missions. The OPVs will be the primary ADF asset for maritime patrol and response duties.