Australia builds new class of Offshore Patrol Vessels

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) announced the beginning of construction of its new Arafura-Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) on November 15.

“Named for the Arafura Sea, the name recognises the prominence of Navy’s enduring operations in the northern approaches to Australia to protect our national interests, natural resources and maritime borders,” the Royal Australian Navy said.

“The Arafura Sea stretches from Cape York in the east to Cape Don in the west and encapsulates the importance of the seas surrounding the Australian continent and our connections with our immediate neighbours, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia,” it added.

RAN said the twelve Australian vessels are based on the PV80 design with the first two vessels to be built at ASC’s Osborne ship yard in South Australia before production moves to Civmec’s Henderson ship yard in Western Australia.

The Australian navy plans that its Armidale class and Cape class patrol boats, Huon class coastal minehunters, Leeuwin class survey ships and Survey Ship, Coastal (AGSC) be replaced with a single class of OPV to be built in Australia by German shipbuilder, Lürssen’s subsidiary, Luerssen Australia partnering with Australian shipbuilder, Civmec in the joint venture, Australian Maritime Shipbuilding & Export Group (AMSEG).

“The primary role of the OPV will be to undertake constabulary missions, maritime patrol and response duties,” RAN said. “Through the use of two changeable, containerised mission systems, secondary roles of minehunting, unmanned aerial system (UAS) missions, and hydrographic survey can also be performed.”