Australia Launches Arafura-Class OPV (SEA 1180) Programme

A computer-generated image of the Arafura class, which is being built under Australia’s Sea 1180 Phase 1 programme. (Lürssen Australia/ASC)

Australia has launched initiatives to support enhanced industrial collaboration in the programme to build Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

The Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra said on 5 March that it had established an OPV Enterprise initiative and a related systems programme office at the Henderson maritime precinct in Western Australia, where the majority of the vessels were being constructed.

The DoD said that the OPV Enterprise “brings together Commonwealth and defence industry teams under one roof, to build and sustain the RAN’s new Arafura-class OPVs”.

Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm, head of maritime systems within the DoD’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), said, “Evolution of our asset management, supply chain, infrastructure, improved commercial models and professionalisation across the enterprise will be key to success.

“This process ensures sustainment needs are considered during the design phase, and brings together [the DoD], primes, small business and service providers to facilitate sustainment of our naval vessels from strategically located ports around the country.”

According to the DoD, the Arafura-class OPVs, which replace the RAN’s Armidale- and Cape-class patrol boats, will be the Australian Defence Force’s “main asset for maritime patrol and response duties and will primarily undertake constabulary missions”.

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