Morrison Government's Arafura class program reaches new milestone

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Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Minister for Defence

The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

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Nicky Hamer (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 437 989 927

Kathy Quinn (Minister Price’s Office): +61 468 369 301

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9 April 2020

Joint media release

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP


The Morrison Government’s $90 billion National Shipbuilding Program has reached another milestone with the ceremonial keel laying of the second Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) in Adelaide.

The keel laying is an important shipyard and naval tradition that brings good luck to the build of the ship and the life of the vessel by placing a coin under the keel.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the keel laying reinforces the continued progress and ongoing success story of this Morrison Government’s $90 billion continuous shipbuilding endeavour in Australia.

“The Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels are larger than the Armidale Class Patrol Boats currently in service with the Royal Australian Navy, and will offer greater endurance and capability for patrolling Australia’s maritime borders,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Over the past 10 months, Luerssen Australia alongside ASC Shipbuilding have contributed an enormous effort to build and commence consolidation of the keel blocks, which when complete, will be part of a 1,600 tonne ship.

“Defence and industry are working closely to support our sovereign shipbuilding programs and Australian jobs in these challenging times, in a way that is safe for employees and the community.”

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP said the OPV program is creating jobs right across the supply-chain.

“This project is estimated to create around 600 jobs involving more than 300 small and medium businesses, reinforcing the Morrison Government’s commitment to maximising Australian industry involvement in our $90 billion shipbuilding program,” Minister Price said. 

“The project also highlights Australian industry’s ability to deliver on schedule with construction on the first Offshore Patrol Vessel being built in Western Australia commencing ahead of schedule.

The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN announced that the vessel will be commissioned as HMAS Eyre when it comes into operational service in early 2023.

“The next four OPVs will be named HMAS Pilbara, HMAS Gippsland, HMAS Illawarra and HMAS Carpentaria,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.

Two OPVs are being built by ASC Shipbuilding at Osborne Naval Shipyard, setting the foundation of continuous shipbuilding prior to prototyping commencing on the Hunter Class Frigate Program in 2020.

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