Keel laid for Australian Navy’s third Arafura-class OPV

The Australian government’s National Shipbuilding Program has reached another milestone with the keel laying for the first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) under construction in Western Australia or the third new Arafura-class OPV — NUSHIP Pilbara.

Arafura-class OPV design. Photo by Luerssen
Keel laying ceremony for OPV Pilbara. Image by Royal Australian Navy

“This milestone marks the start of the consolidation phase for the third Arafura class ship to be built in Australia, named Pilbara by the Chief of Navy,” Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, said.

“It demonstrates the success of this Government’s Naval Shipbuilding plan, with eight vessels already built and another 10 vessels currently under construction at Henderson and Osborne”

“Since construction commenced ahead of schedule in March, the Luerssen and Civmec teams in WA have continued to make significant progress on building the blocks that, when complete, will form a 1,600 tonne 80 metre long OPV.”

“I am very pleased that Luerssen and Civmec have been able to reach this milestone in such a timely manner, and I have no doubt that is due in part to the practices they put in place to deal with COVID-19,” Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, said.

The OPVs are based on the Lürssen PV80 design.

The first two vessels are under construction at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia and will be followed by ten ships to be built at the Henderson shipyard.

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