Deputy Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Mark Hammond, joined staff from Navy’s Construction Branch in Adelaide today to mark the start of construction of the first of 12 new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV).
RADM Hammond attended the Osborne Naval Shipyard to see the welding of the first two component blocks which will form part of the first vessel off the production line.
The event included the announcement that Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels will be known as the Arafura Class, with the first vessel to be commissioned HMAS Arafura when she enters service in 2022.
RADM Hammond said calling the vessels Arafura Class reflected the significance of Navy’s lasting operations to protect Australia’s interests in the Arafura Sea between Cape York and Cape Don.
“This name encapsulates the significant role our maritime regions have in the nation’s security and economic prosperity, importantly the littoral regions around the Australian continent,” he said.
“This is a much more capable class of ship with greater range, endurance, improved accommodation for the crew staying at sea longer and in every respect it will outperform older patrol boats.”
“The Arafura Class crews will be tight knit, executing very important missions that will ultimately lead to a great sense of camaraderie and achievement in doing something that’s worthwhile.”
The Arafura Class is a custom Australian variant of German shipbuilder Lürssen’s PV80 design and is 80 metres in length with a displacement of around 1,700 tonnes and a draught of 4 metres.
The Arafura Class will replace the Armidale Class and Cape Class patrol boats and will primarily be used for constabulary missions, maritime patrol and response duties.
The OPV design will support specialist mission packages, such as a maritime tactical unmanned aerial system, and into the future, rapid environmental assessment and deployable mine counter measure capabilities.
The first two Arafura Class vessels will be built at Osborne with the following ten to be built at Henderson in Western Australia.
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.