Construction work began on the third of 12 Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) on order for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has announced on 27 March.
Different from the first two ships of the class, which are being built at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia by Lürssen Australia and government-owned ASC, the vessel is the first of the remaining ten ships of the class set to be built at the Civmec shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
The Arafura-class OPVs are intended to replace the existing Armidale class and Cape class patrol boats, Huon class coastal minehunters, and Leeuwin class survey ships in service with the RAN.
The lead patrol vessel in the class, HMAS Arafura, is named after the Arafura Sea in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. It is expected to be delivered to the Australian Navy in 2021 for service entry in 2022.
Arafura-class OPV :
The design of the Arafura class OPVs is based on the Lürssen OPV80 platform. The compact design of the OPV offers enhanced seakeeping characteristics and superior performance.
The spacious aft deck will have enough room to house three rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB). Two 8.5m-long boats can be launched from the side of the vessel while a 10.5m sea boat can be launched from the stern of the ship.
The OPVs will have a length of 80m, beam of 13m, and draught of 4m. The displacement of the vessels will be 1,640t. The ships will be manned by a crew of 40 members and will offer accommodation for more than 60 complement.
The 80m OPVs in the class will be able to perform maritime patrol, response duties, and constabulary missions. The vessels can be customised to perform mine hunting, hydrographic survey, fisheries patrol, disaster relief, and unmanned aerial system (UAS) missions.