The two halves of the first Arafura Class OPV have been welded together to form a complete hull.
Built by Luerssen Australia and ASC, it marks the largest industrial manoeuvre at Osborne Naval Shipyard in SA. The latest update to the program follows the second keel laying in April.
The Australian Naval Infrastructure (ANI) operations team manoeuvred the two mega-blocks of the ship together, weighing 1,000 tonnes in total, with only millimetres between them.
“It is a source of great pride to see a unified purpose among industry partners Luerssen, ASC and ANI, with defence industry continuing to show resilience to deliver during these challenging times,” Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said.
The first of the OPVs, Arafura, is planned to enter service from the early 2020’s and will conduct border protection and maritime patrol missions alongside other Australian and regional partners.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price congratulated ANI on its continued development work in SA.
“It is great to see new investments and innovations made as part of this program, with ANI undertaking significant expansion and modernisation of the Osborne Naval Shipyard,” Minister Price said.
Luerssen Australia is working with key shipbuilding partners ASC in SA and Civmec in WA to deliver the OPV capability for Defence.
The program of 12 vessels will replace the capability delivered by the Armidale Class and Cape Class Patrol Boats.
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