Construction has commenced on the first of 12 Project SEA 1180 offshore patrol vessels (OPV), with the cutting of steel for the first vessel by Civmec.
To be named the Arafura class after the first vessel and in deference to their planned primary area of operation, the first two Luerssen-designed vessels are planned to be built at ASC’s Osborne yard in South Australia before construction shifts to the Henderson yard in Western Australia.
“These new vessels are being built in Australian facilities, with Australian steel, and by Australian workers,” Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said in a statement. “Only a year ago we announced Lürssen was the preferred tenderer. It’s a fantastic achievement to start construction on time and on budget and I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project.”
Luerssen Australia Chairman Tim Wagner said it was a great honour to be responsible for the delivery of the OPVs and to be partnering with great companies like ASC, Civmec, Saab Australia, L3, Taylor Bros and Penske.
“This is a momentous day both for Luerssen Australia and Australia’s naval shipbuilding sector; a partnership with the Australian Government and the local industry that points to a bright future,” he said. “We are proud to be part of this nation’s shipbuilding capability, and to ensure that German design and technology can be married with the best of Australian manufacturing and ingenuity.”
After initially being encouraged by the government to partner with Austal, Luerssen announced the Australian Maritime Shipbuilding and Export Group (AMSEG) joint-venture with Civmec in June to build the OPVs. “In our view, this nation has the necessary ingredients to establish Australia as a credible naval surface ship builder, the equal of any nation in the world,” Mr Wagner said