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12-OPV order for German shipyard Lürssen

Monday, 04 Dec 2017

German yard Lürssen has won an A$3.5 billion (2.2 billion euro) contract to design and support building of Australia’s new fleet of 12 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), with actual construction to be shared between two shipyards in Australia.

The first two Lürssen-designed ships will be built in Adelaide by the Australian state-owned yard ASC Shipbuilding from the end of 2018.
The remaining ten OPVs will be built at the Austal shipyard at Henderson. Somewhat bigger than the four OPVs Lürssen built for the Brunei navy, the Australian OPVs will be 80m long with a displacement of 1,700 tonnes and a draught of 4m. The vessels will be fitted with a 40mm gun for self-protection, three 8.4m-long boats plus command and communication systems. This will allow the OPVs to operate alongside Australian Border Force vessels and other Australian Defence Force units. The vessels will accommodate up to 60
personnel, including a crew of around 40 and have the ability to accept modular mission packs such as unmanned aerial systems. The construction project is expected to employ up to 1,000 Australian workers, including 400 direct jobs and 600 in the supply chain. Lürssen’s bid was successful in a three way race
against another German yard Fassmer and Dutch shipbuilder Damen. A surprise part of announcement is that the appointment of Lürssen will require Austal to break ties with its previous partner to bid to build the vessels, Germany’s Fassmer. Australia Defence Industry Minister Mr Christopher Pyne said the structure of the contract would not add time, cost or risk to the project. “We are using all the resources that are available to us,” he said. The West Australian Government welcomed the appointment of Lürssen and its commitment to jobs in the state. But the West Australian state Minister for Defence Issues Paul Papalia expressed surprise in the decision to split Austal and Fassmer as tender partners. The OPV project is seen as a new volume of work for Australian yards that can bridge the gap between the end of Australia’s current Air Warfare Destroyer construction project and the beginning of the Future Frigates project. The government said the ships would be
larger and more capable than the current Armidale-class vessels. The final terms of the contract with Lürssen have not yet been negotiated.

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