Australia’s first Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel hits the water

The first Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has been launched at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia. 

As informed, the event was attended by the Governor of South Australia, Premier of South Australia, Minister for Defence and the Chief of the Royal Australian Navy.

Defense company Luerssen Australia became the prime contractor on the RAN’s SEA1180 program to build twelve Arafura-class OPVs after winning the contract at the end of 2017, with two to be built in Osborne and ten in Henderson, Western Australia. The firm is building the vessels in cooperation with Australia’s ASC Pty.

Photo by: Luerssen Australia

Chief Executive Officer of Luerssen Australia, Jens Nielsen, said it is a proud day for the company after starting construction of the vessel in 2018.

“This launch is an important moment in the life of Arafura and it is an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the hard work and commitment of hundreds of people,” said Nielsen.

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The ship is expected to be commissioned into service next year as HMAS Arafura, the Australian navy officials revealed.

The Arafura-class will replace the Armidale-class and Cape-class patrol boats, Huon-class coastal minehunters and Leeuwin-class survey ships and will primarily be used for constabulary missions, maritime patrol and response duties.

The units will measure 80 meters in length and displace around 1,700 tonnes. Their design also includes two changeable, containerized mission systems, supporting secondary roles such as mine hunting, unmanned aerial system missions, and hydrographic surveying.

Six of the vessels will be based at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin, four at HMAS Cairns in north Queensland and two at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.

Photo: RAN