Australia launched the first Arafura-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia on Thursday (Dec. 16).
Formally named as HMAS Arafura (OPV 203), the ship is also the first of 12 Arafura-class OPVs which are being planned to replace both of the RAN’s Armidale and Cape class patrol boats starting in 2022.
“The Arafura class OPVs represent the future of Australia’s border protection and will be the primary asset for maritime patrol and response duties,” said Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton in his official press release.
“Our commitment to a secure, stable and prosperous region will be bolstered by the introduction of these vessels, with state of the art sensors and command and communications systems.” he added
Based on Lürssen OPV80 design, HMAS Arafura has 80 meters length, 13 meters beam, 4 meters draft and a displacement of 1,640 tonnes. Powered by two 4,250 kW (5,700 hp) diesel engines, the ship has a maximum speed of 20 knots, and a maximum range of about 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km). It can accommodate up to 60 troops in addition to its 40 crews.
Armed with one Oto Marlin 40 mm cannon as its main weapon, as well as two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns, HMAS Arafura is also carrying two side-launched 8.5 meters sea boats, and one stern-launched 10.5 meters sea boat. It also has a flight deck for up to a medium-sized helicopter which also serves as the launchpad for its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The construction of the second Arafura-class OPV is now being carried out by Lürssen Australia at the Osborne Naval Shipyard. The remaining 10 will be constructed by the same company at Henderson Maritime Precinct in Western Australia.
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