The Federal Government has announced that German company Lurssen will be awarded the $3.5 billion contract to build the Royal Australian Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs).
The first two vessels will be built in Adelaide, with construction to start in the second half of 2018. In 2020, construction will move to WA where the remaining 10 vessels will be constructed.
The project is expected to create up to 400 direct jobs, and 600 indirect positions. Contract negotiations are expected to take place over the coming months. The OPVs will replace the existing Armidale-class vessels (pictured).
Defence Issues Minister Paul Papalia welcomed the announcement saying the decision to use two WA companies demonstrates WA's capability depth.
"I congratulate Civmec and Austal on their success. This announcement provides some confidence for the local shipbuilding industry, which can commence establishing supply chains," Mr Papalia said.
"The [WA] Government now looks forward to working with the Federal Government to secure investment for upgrades to the infrastructure at Henderson in order to prepare for the work ahead."
Austal CEO David Singleton said that the OPV program would be a further and important addition to the $2.5 billion of work Austal has won in the past 18 months, including an unprecedented run of orders for its commercial high-speed ferry business.
"Austal’s commercial and US businesses have never looked brighter than they do today. I congratulate Lurssen on being selected for the OPV and Austal looks forward to establishing a long and productive future working together. This important program will not only deliver new capability for the Navy but will continue to build the industrial base in Australia in line with the Government’s stated intent,” Mr Singleton said.
“The Australian Government has made a commitment to a continuous naval shipbuilding industry and Austal looks forward to playing a role in making this happen. We thank the Australian Government for this endorsement of our shipbuilding capability, which will ensure Austal’s ongoing naval shipbuilding presence for the next decade and beyond,” he said.
“As I have said many times, the OPV program is very important for our Henderson workforce and we welcome the fact that our employees will have an opportunity to build these vessels,” Mr Singleton said.
Austal Chairman John Rothwell AO commended the Federal Government on its vision for the naval shipbuilding industry.
“I am especially pleased the Government has selected Western Australia as one of two centres of naval shipbuilding in this country.
“It is fortunate that we have some very active and influential Western Australian politicians in Government in Canberra who have achieved this outcome for our State,” Mr Rothwell said.
The OPV program will see 12 vessels built in total, with the first two being constructed in Adelaide by ASC. For more info on this Navy Offshore Patrol Vessels, see Lurssen's video here.