Susan Close MP
Minister for Defence and Space Industries
The second Arafura class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) built in South Australia – NUSHIP Eyre – is being launched this morning at the Osborne Naval Shipyard.
The launch is a significant milestone for shipbuilding at Osborne which is home to the Hunter class frigates and, eventually, the SSN-AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines.
The first OPV built in SA, Arafura, was launched in December 2021 and is scheduled to be commissioned in 2024.
Today’s naval launch ceremony will include a blessing of the ship by Justice Natalie Charlesworth.
The OPVs have been constructed by Luerssen Australia which will build the remaining 10 OPVs at the Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia.
The two locally built vessels were important programs for maintaining the highly skilled workforce at Osborne, helping to bridge the gap before the Hunter class frigate program began in earnest.
Several South Australian-based companies have been involved in the program including Saab Australia, Raytheon Australia, ENGIE Axima, Penske Australia in collaboration with MTU, along with Tasmanian company Taylor Brothers who established a footprint in the state to undertake work on the project locally.
The OPV project is demonstrative of the high calibre of work capable at the Osborne Naval Shipyard which is one of the most technologically advanced in the world.
The primary role of the OPV will be to undertake constabulary missions, maritime patrols and response duties.
The OPVs will be equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and command and communications systems to operate alongside Australian Border Force vessels and other Australian Defence Force units.
Quotes attributable to Susan Close
The OPV program is a significant step forward in Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding program which is centred in South Australia.
This program has been critical to maintaining our workforce and industry capability in the lead up to the larger shipbuilding programs scheduled at Osborne, including the Hunter class frigates and SSN-AUKUS nuclear-powered submarines.
A continuous program of naval shipbuilding is vital to ensuring we can increase the capacity and capability of our industrial base to ultimately grow the workforce from 3,500 to more than 8,500 by the 2040s.
The South Australian Government, in collaboration with the Commonwealth, recently released the South Australian Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Report and Action Plan, containing a detailed strategy to grow and sustain South Australia’s defence industry workforce for the future.