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An Update on the Next Generation Australian OPV: March 2021

Robbin Laird Second Line of Defense 23 March 2021



A year ago, I was in Australia and working on my Australian OPV report.

I visited Western Australia and then returned to Canberra to discuss the acquisition with a number of DoD officials.


That report highlighted how the new-build OPV set in motion the new shipbuilding strategy for Australia, one which highlighted the need for integratability across the distributed fleet.


A year later, an the Arafura class OPV enterprise has been launched.

And since my visit, the formal decision has been reached to use the OPV hull design to build other variants of the ship as well.


A story published on March 8, 2021 by the Australian Defence Business Review provides further details.


The Commonwealth has launched the Arafura class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Enterprise and has opened the OPV System Program Office at Henderson in WA.

The OPV Enterprise consists of Commonwealth and defence industry teams working together to build and sustain the 12 new Arafura Class OPVs being acquired under Project SEA 1180.


“It is great to see the co-location of Commonwealth shipbuilding and sustainment personnel and Luerssen, CIVMEC and Raytheon industry partners delivering outcomes for our Navy,” Deputy Secretary National Naval Shipbuilding, RADM (Ret) Tony Dalton said in a statement.


Head Maritime Systems, RADM Wendy Malcolm added, “The launch marks a critical step towards the implementation of Plan Galileo, an ambitious Future Maritime Sustainment Model which ensures our sustainment organisation engages with acquisition teams early in the build process.”


“Evolution of our asset management, supply chain, infrastructure, improved commercial models and professionalisation across the enterprise will be key to success,” she said. “This process ensures sustainment needs are considered during the design phase, and brings together Defence, primes, small business and service providers to facilitate sustainment of our naval vessels from strategically located ports around the country.”


Based on the Luerssen OPV90 design, the first two Arafura class vessels are currently being constructed at Osborne in Adelaide, while the remaining vessels plus additional mine countermeasures and survey vessels of a similar design will be built at Henderson.


Dr Robbin Laird is a Williams Foundation Fellow. See his bio here.

Reference: Second Line of Defense