Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the keel laying was an important naval tradition that initiated the formal construction of the vessel and brought good luck to the build and the life of the vessel by placing a coin under the keel.
“This milestone marks the start of the consolidation phase for the third Arafura Class ship to be built in Australia,” Minister Reynolds said.
Pilbara will be the first of ten Offshore Patrol Vessels to be built by the Luerssen and Civmec teams in Western Australia, with the first two vessels completed at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN, said Navy was proud to celebrate this significant moment with industry partners, Luerssen Australia and Civmec.
“Significant milestones like this are testament to the strength and resilience of Australia’s national shipbuilding industry, and solidify our transformational partnership with Defence Industry,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
“Upon commissioning the vessel will be known as HMAS Pilbara, which honours the role of the Western Australian shipbuilding industry in supporting the Navy.”
Minister Reynolds noted the key role Western Australia played in the development of Australia’s naval shipbuilding enterprise with around 400 jobs created locally by the Offshore Patrol Vessel project and more than 60 per cent local industry content.
“Made with Australian steel, cut locally in Western Australia, the Offshore Patrol Vessels will offer greater endurance to undertake maritime patrol and response duties, as well as support specialist missions,” Minister Reynolds said.
When completed the vessel will weigh approximately 1600 tonne and have a length of 80 metres.
Undertaking maritime border patrol and constabulary roles, along with humanitarian and disaster relief, the Offshore Patrol Vessel will operate alongside Australian Border Force Vessels, Australian Defence Force units and regional partners.
Imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20202920.