German shipbuilding company Luerssen has established a new joint venture (JV) with Australia-based heavy engineering and construction firm Civmec in order to support and strengthen Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry.

The new JV has been named the Australian Maritime Shipbuilding and Export Group (AMSEG) and is expected to play a major role in the construction of a total of ten new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

The new OPVs will be constructed in Western Australia for use by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and will feature Luerssen’s proven design concept, stated Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne.

“The whole project is worth around $3.6bn and construction of the first OPV will start in South Australia later this year using ASC.”

Luerssen was originally selected by the Australian Government as the prime contractor for the development of 12 new OPVs in November last year.

The entire procurement development is expected to cost approximately A$3.6bn ($2.72bn).

Pyne said: “The whole project is worth around $3.6bn and construction of the first OPV will start in South Australia later this year using ASC.

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“The work will then move to Henderson in Western Australia, where the final ten will be built as part of the continuous shipbuilding programme for minor war vessels.”

The construction project is expected to create up to 1,000 employment opportunities for Australian workers, including 400 direct jobs and a further 600 across the supply chain.

Pyne added: “I commend AMSEG for their commitment to advancing Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability.

“By investing in Australian skills and infrastructure, and looking at opportunities to export into the global naval market, AMSEG is signalling its intent to be a key player in establishing Australia as a competitive shipbuilding nation.”