Australia launches first new Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel


The NUSHIP Arufara during launching. Photo c/o Adelaide Now.

Australia’s first new-generation offshore patrol vessel, the first of class of the Arafura-class, has been launched by its shipbuilder.

The ship, named NUSHIP Arafura (203), is the first of 12 new OPVs being built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) to replace its current fleet of Armidale and Cape-class patrol boats.

The launch was held on 16 December 2021 at the ASC Shipbuilding’s Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, with Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton MP saying that it was a step forward in protecting Australian borders and offshore interests, providing increased maritime patrol and response capability and interoperability with Australian vessels and regional partners.

The RAN’s SEA 1180 Phase 1 project was awarded to Luerssen Australia in 2018, with a contract to build 12 new OPVs based on their PV-80 design.

Construction of NUSHIP Arufara began in 2019, with ASC Shipbuilding contracted by Luerssen Australia to build the first and second ships. This was to allow the setting of a foundation for continuous shipbuilding before the RAN’s new Hunter-class frigates with construction.

Ships 3 to 12 will be built by Civmec Construction & Engineering at their shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.

The new Arufara-class OPVs have a primary role of undertaking constabulary missions, maritime patrol and response duties. It will be equipped with modern sensors and command and communications systems to operate alongside Australian Border Force vessels, and other Australian Defence Force units and other regional partners and allies.

They are 80 meters long, 13 meters wide, displaces at 1,640 tons, and has a crew of 40.

The ships are powered by two 4,250KW diesel engines which allows for a maximum speed of 20 knots and a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles at cruising speed.

It will be armed with a 40mm naval gun and two .50-caliber machine guns, and will be complemented with two 8.5-meter Boomeranger FRB 850 and one 10.5-meter Bommeranger C 1100 rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).

[1] Australian Department of Defence

[2] Royal Australian Navy

[3] Naval News

Australia launches first new Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel Australia launches first new Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on December 21, 2021 Rating: 5

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