Construction of the first OPV commenced in November 2018 with Luerssen Australia, with ASC welding the first steel deck plate. The OPV program is ASC’s second major shipbuilding program, following the completion of the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) program in February 2020, for which ASC was the lead shipbuilder.
In early 2020 ASC was engaging more than 250 shipbuilding workers in constructing the first two vessels. Once the second OPV is completed at the Osborne Naval Shipyard, in line with the requirements of the Commonwealth Government, Luerssen will transfer the program to Henderson, Western Australia, where it will continue delivering vessels with local shipbuilding partner, Civmec.
The Government announced in 2017 that the OPV class will be named Arafura, after the Arafura Sea in northern Australia. The class of twelve OPVs will replace the Armidale Class and Cape Class patrol boats.
The primary role of the Arafura Class will be to undertake constabulary missions, maritime patrol and response duties, meeting a wide range of operational demands in territorial waters and Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
State-of-the-art sensors, as well as command and communication systems, will allow the OPVs to operate alongside Australian Border Force vessels, other Australian Defence Force units and regional partners. The OPV’s 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.
|Full load displacement||1,640 tonnes|
|Top speed||20+ knots|
|Range||4,000+ nautical miles|
|Boats||2 x 8.5 metre side launched, and 1 x 10.5 metre stern launched|