Just shy of 18 months after the start of construction and one year since the official keel-laying ceremony for the Navy’s new first-of-class offshore patrol vessel, the two halves of the future HMAS Arafura have been brought together.
CAPTION: Two halves of future HMAS Arafura are brought together.
On Wednesday 29 April, the front half of the ship was rolled out of its construction shed atop a 192-wheeled low-load transporter and wheeled into position to be married to its stern half.
The operation was the largest block move in the history of the Osborne Naval Shipyard.
A spokesman said it was a considerable engineering feat.
The actual move was completed by an Australian Naval Infrastructure’s (ANI) operations team who manoeuvred the two mega-blocks together, with only millimetres between them.
They were then welded together to form a complete hull.
Arafura and her sister ship Eyre are currently under construction by Luerssen Australia and its partner ASC (formerly Australian Submarine Corporation) at Osborne Naval Shipyard, South Australia.
The remaining 10 Arafura-class OPVs will be built at the Civmec shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia.
Future HMAS Eyre had its official keel-laying ceremony last month.
Construction started, on the third ship – future HMAS Pilbara – in WA, in March.
The contract with project-lead Lürssen for 12 OPVs is worth around $3 billion.