Australia has begun the construction of its fifth Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) intended to enhance the country’s maritime awareness.
A keel laying ceremony was held at the Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia, with representatives from shipbuilder Luerssen Australia in attendance.
The event marked a “major milestone” in the design, development, and delivery of another OPV for the Royal Australian Navy, Deputy Secretary of National Naval Shipbuilding Tony Dalton said.
“A keel laying is an important naval tradition that brings good luck to the build of the ship and the life of the vessel,” he added.
“This program will contribute to continuous naval shipbuilding, creating Australian jobs, and assuring the long-term sustainability of this key Australian industry.”
Based on Luerssen’s PV80 design, the Arafura-class OPV is capable of accommodating up to 60 military personnel.
It is 80 meters (262 feet) long and has a maximum speed of 20 knots (37 kilometers/23 miles per hour).
The vessel is designed to support constabulary missions, maritime patrol, and response duties.
Its state-of-the-art sensors and command and communication systems will allow the OPV to operate alongside other Australian vessels and regional partners.