Keel laying ceremony marks start of life of Australia’s first Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel

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In the second major milestone of Australia’s newest warship construction program, the first of Australia’s Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) has celebrated a keel-laying ceremony that marked the official start of the ship’s life.

The keel laying ceremony saw the youngest shipbuilders in the Osborne Naval Shipyard place a commemorative coin under the keel of the vessel, followed by the Chief of Navy wedging the coin under the keel.

Luerssen Australia Chairman Tim Wagner said the milestone demonstrated the significant progress made already on the Arafura Class program.

“This is another reminder of the importance of the Arafura Class program towards Australia building a sovereign naval shipbuilding capability,” Mr Wagner said.

“As the prime contractor and designer for the SEA1180 program, we have been delighted with progress so far, and remain confident that we will deliver all 12 vessels on time and on budget for the Royal Australian Navy.”

ASC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Whiley said construction of the first of 12 Arafura Class OPVs commenced last November.

“The Arafura Class is ASC’s second shipbuilding program, commenced as we continue to successfully complete the Air Warfare Destroyer program, and we are very pleased at its progress to date,” Mr Whiley continued.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the skilled and experienced workforce of ASC Shipbuilding, who are carrying out the shipbuilding work on this program, under contract to ASC.”

The Arafura Class will see major warships and submarines constructed in Osborne, South Australia, and minor warships in Henderson, Western Australia.

The first two OPVs will be constructed at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in SA by ASC, with the Australian steel, cut in Western Australia by Civmec.

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The remaining ten warships will be constructed at Civmec’s facility in Henderson, with the Australian Maritime Shipbuilding and Export Group (AMSEG) – a joint venture between Civmec and Luerssen Australia –  to play a major role in the construction.

Image credit: www.asc.com.au