Asia PacificSea

Australia Opens Arafura Patrol Vessel Training Hub on Garden Island

The Royal Australian Navy has opened a waterfront training center on HMAS Stirling, Garden Island, to upskill its Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) operators.

The Navy Training System Centre – West (NTSC-W) is part of Canberra’s effort announced in February 2024 to expand the country’s maritime fleet and boost related competency projects for warfighters.

Procured under a 2018 contract with Henderson-based defense industry partner Luerssen Australia, the Arafura ships are set to replace the navy’s Armidale-class patrol boats that have been in service since the early 2000s.

Realistic Shore-Based Training

Australia wrote that NTSC-W will deliver “cross-platform and cross-community training” for OPVs, associated capabilities, and platforms through realistic environments.

These preparations will incorporate virtual and augmented reality, 3D-enabled simulation, and other technologies, all housed at the site.

Artist’s rendering of the Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel. Photo: Luerssen Australia

“This is more than just a physical building we’re opening, it is an important capability to qualify, certify and prepare our people and teams,” a statement from the Royal Australian Navy said.

“NTSC-W gives Defence not only a great opportunity for collaboration and the provision of cohesive training solutions, but it also increases HMAS Stirling’s capacity for highly secure, state-of-the-art facilities such as briefing and meeting rooms, among others.”

‘Cost-Effective, Safer’ Approach

Luerssen, which also supported the completion of the latest navy training center, will provide 19 courses similar to previous lessons relayed at an existing facility on HMAS Stirling for the lead Arafura OPV crew.

Training for the second vessel “Eyre” and its sister ships’ personnel will take place at NTSC-W starting this year.

“This important and innovative facility will help prepare OPV crews for deployment,” Luerssen Australia Managing Director Malcolm Taylor stated. ”It is an immersive approach … to provide crews a unique training experience.”

“This type of training is more cost effective and safer than training at sea. Studies have also shown interactive technology that engages multiple senses contributes to better retention and recall. We are extremely excited to be able to deliver this capability to the customer.”

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