The Australian Government has announced the keel-laying of the second Arafura-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV) in Adelaide as part of the Australian Defence Force’s $90bn National Shipbuilding Program.

This Arafura-class vessel, which is being built for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), will be commissioned as HMAS Eyre once it enters into operational service in early 2023.

The following four OPVs will be named HMAS Pilbara, HMAS Gippsland, HMAS Illawarra and HMAS Carpentaria.

ASC Shipbuilding is building two OPVs at Osborne Naval Shipyard.

Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “The Arafura-class OPVs are larger than the Armidale-class patrol boats currently in service with the RAN, and will offer greater endurance and capability for patrolling Australia’s maritime borders.

“Over the past ten months, Luerssen Australia, alongside ASC Shipbuilding, have contributed an enormous effort to build and commence consolidation of the keel blocks, which when complete, will be part of a 1,600t ship.

“Defence and industry are working closely to support our sovereign shipbuilding programmes and Australian jobs in these challenging times, in a way that is safe for employees and the community.”

In addition, the OPV programme continues to create jobs across the supply chain.

Last May, RAN performed the keel-laying ceremony for the first Arafura-class OPV at Osborne Naval Shipyard.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “This project is estimated to create around 600 jobs, involving more than 300 small and medium businesses, reinforcing the Morrison Government’s commitment to maximising Australian industry involvement in our $90bn shipbuilding programme.”