Luerssen Australia and ASC have welded the first steel for the future HMAS Arafura, the first of 12 Arafura class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) being procured through the SEA 1180 OPV project for the Royal Australian Navy, on Nov. 15.
The first two OPVs will be constructed at the Osborne Naval Shipyards in South Australia by ASC with the Australian steel cut in Western Australia by Civmec. Luerssen Australia– the prime contractor and designer for the SEA1180 program – has pledged to deliver the new fleet on time and on budget.
Luerssen Australia Chairman Tim Wagner said it was a great honour to be responsible for the delivery of the SEA1180 program 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,” Mr Wagner 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.”
Mr Wagner also said Luerssen Australia is committed to further developing Australia’s sovereign capability and developing its supply chain through significant technology and skills transfer.
“We have also signed up a number of leading defence suppliers who will become our key sub-contractors, ensuring the benefits from SEA1180 will also flow through to many local small and medium-sized enterprises,” Mr Wagner said.
ASC Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Stuart Whiley said Australia’s shipbuilding capability has been built up over the past 10 years on the Air Warfare Destroyer program, which is delivering the Navy’s most potent naval surface vessels.
“Today, the highly skilled ASC shipbuilders commence their second surface shipbuilding project and Australia embarks on continuous naval shipbuilding for decades to come,” Mr Whiley said.
“Luerssen’s long history in shipbuilding and cutting-edge design expertise, together with ASC’s experience in building sophisticated and highly capable naval surface vessels for the Royal Australian Navy, means the OPV program is in safe hands.”
In June, Luerssen announced a JV with Civmec to establish Australian Maritime Shipbuilding and Export Group (AMSEG) as part of its commitment towards developing a sovereign shipbuilding sector.
“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.