Video: Two mega-blocks of Australia’s 1st Arafura-class OPV joined together

The Royal Australian Navy’s offshore patrol vessel (OPV) program has reached another milestone with the two halves of the first Arafura class OPV coming together to form a complete hull.

Photo: Australian Department of Defense

The milestone comes a year after the keel for the lead ship in the class was laid in Adelaide.

Built by Luerssen Australia and its South Australian partner ASC, it marks the largest industrial manoeuvre at Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI) operations team manoeuvred the two mega-blocks of the ship together, weighing 1,000 tonnes in total, with only millimetres between them.

“It is a source of great pride to see a unified purpose among industry partners Luerssen, ASC and ANI, with defence industry continuing to show resilience to deliver during these challenging times,” Minister Reynolds said.

The first of the OPVs, Arafura, is planned to enter service from the early 2020s and will conduct border protection and maritime patrol missions alongside other Australian and regional partners.

“It is great to see new investments and innovations made as part of this program, with ANI undertaking significant expansion and modernisation of the Osborne Naval Shipyard,” Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP, commented.

“The OPV program is delivering benefits across Australia, with the first two vessels under construction at Osborne in South Australia and the remaining 10 vessels to be built at Henderson in Western Australia.”

The program of 12 vessels will replace and improve upon the capability delivered by the Armidale class and Cape class patrol boats.

Check out how the two halves of Arafura were brought together and welded to form a single structure in the video below: