Raytheon Australia has been selected as the new capability life cycle manager for the Royal Australian Navy’s Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).
Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm, Head Maritime Systems at Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), said Raytheon would initially help support the transition of the offshore patrol vessels into service and set the foundations through life asset management.
“This contract represents a significant milestone in the development of the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise in this country,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.
The first two Arafura-class vessels are under construction at Osborne in South Australia, while the remaining 10 vessels will be built at Henderson in Western Australia.
Rear Admiral Malcolm said the contract ensured opportunities for Australian industry would be maximised with domestic sourcing of materials.
“This will build depth and resilience in Australia’s national supply chains as we continue to effectively build a sovereign shipbuilding industry in this country,” he said. “The offshore patrol vessels represent a critical capability for our Navy in patrolling and protecting our borders and fishing zones.”
Arafura Class OPV Program
The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is procuring 12 Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) to replace its Armidale Class Patrol Boats under the $3.6 billion SEA 1180 project. The class is named for the Arafura Sea between Australia and Indonesia.
The Australian Government, in 2017, announced the selection of German shipbuilder, Lürssen as the prime contractor for designing and building the 12 SEA 1180 OPVs. The ships will be larger and more capable than Australia’s current Armidale-class patrol boats, they are replacing.
The new OPVs will be 80 meters in length with a displacement of 1700 tonnes and a draught of 4 meters. They will be fitted with a 40 mm gun for self-protection, three 8.4 m sea boats, state of the art sensors as well as command and communication systems.
The vessels are able to embark unmanned aerial (UAV), underwater (UUV) and surface vehicles (USV) and can operate larger sea boats which are essential for boarding operations.
The Arafura class vessels will conduct intelligence and surveillance missions (ISR), search and rescue (SAR), humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and border protection patrols. The OPVs will provide greater range and endurance than the existing patrol boat fleet.
The first two OPVs are being built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia. Luerssen Australia along with shipbuilding sub-contractor ASC commenced construction of the first vessel, the future HMAS Arafura, on 15 November 2018 and the keel of the vessel was laid on May 10, 2019. The first ship will be launched in 2021, with the second ship to be launched from the Osborne shipyard in 2022.
The remaining ten vessels are being constructed by Luerssen Australia and Civmec at the Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia.