At the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State of Qatar for Defence Affairs His Excellency Doctor Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah and Italian Minister of Defense, Honourable Lorenzo Guerini, the delivery of the second OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessels) QENS Sheraouh (Q62), ordered to Fincantieri by the Qatari Ministry of Defence within the national naval acquisition program, took place at the Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard. The program is worth nearly 4 billion euros and envisages, other than 2 OPVs, 4 Corvettes over 100 meters/328 feet long and 1 LPD (Landing Platform Dock).
Attending the event were, among others, Staff Major General Abdulla Bin Hassan Al Sulaiti, Commander of the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces, Vice Admiral Enrico Credendino, Chief of the Italian Navy, His Excellency Khalid bin Yousef Al-Sada, Ambassador to the State of Qatar in Italy, His Excellency Alessandro Prunas, Ambassador of Italy to Qatar and, for Fincantieri, the Chairman, General Claudio Graziano, and the CEO and General manager Pierroberto Folgiero.
Like its sister-ship QENS Musherib (Q61), delivered in January 2022, the OPV QENS Sheraouh (Q62), has been designed in compliance with the RINAMIL for Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) rules and is a flexible type of ship capable of performing several services, from surveillance to combat functions. It is about 63 meters/206.7 feet long, 9.2 meters/30.2 feet wide, with a maximum speed of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h and it accommodates as many as 38 of crew members.
Last May the keel laying of the LPD took place in Palermo, while in April Fincantieri has delivered QENS Damsah (F102) in Muggiano, the second of 4 corvettes, all within the same program for Qatar.
The last of the four Argentinian Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), OPV 87 A.R.A. Contraalmirante Cordero, was delivered on April 13, 2022 to the Argentine Navy. The delivery and commandment handover ceremony of the last vessel of the series marks the completion of a successful program.
A.R.A. Contraalmirante Cordero has been delivered to the Argentine Navy today in Concarneau in the presence of Francisco Cafiero, Secretary for International Defence Affairs at the Argentine Ministry of Defence, Vice Admiral Enrique Antonio Traina, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Argentine Navy and Alain Guillou, EVP International Development at Naval Group. It is part of the contract signed by Naval Group with Argentina in 2019 for the supply of four Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV – «Patrulleros Oceánicos Multipropósito» in Spanish).
The A.R.A. Contraalmirante Cordero is the last vessel of the series and its delivery marks the success of a program that has met all its deadlines: the A.R.A. Bouchard (ex-L’Adroit) was delivered in December 2019 two months ahead of schedule, and the second and third offshore patrol vessels A.R.A Piedrabuena and A.R.A Storni were delivered in April and October 2021, in line with the original schedule.
This success was made possible thanks to the close collaboration between Naval Group, Kership and Piriou, who worked side by side with the Argentinean Navy. The excellent overall customer satisfaction rate, measured at 97%, confirms the excellent conduct of this program.
Captain Santiago Villemur, representative of the Argentinian Navy in France said: «We are conscious that delivering 4 ships in 3 years, training the crews and providing the associated logistics services was a real challenge. Our thanks and gratitude go to all the men and women of Naval Group and its industrial partners who have worked tirelessly to achieve this feat. These ships are already contributing to the defence of Argentina’s sovereign interests by enabling the Argentine Armada to carry out its missions at sea».
Stéphanie Giroud, director of the program at Naval Group added: «It is with great pride and emotion that we are delivering the last vessel of the series to Argentina on the exact date stipulated in the contract and are witnessing the raising of the Argentinean flag in Brittany for the fourth time. The success of this project is a collective one and is due to the excellence of the relationship established with the Argentinean Armada, whose high standards and confidence have motivated our teams to meet the client’s expectations to the maximum. It is also the result of a constructive and innovative industrial partnership between the teams of Naval Group, Kership and Piriou».
OPV 87, an innovative and sea proven vessel
The Argentine offshore patrol vessels benefit from innovations developed by Naval Group and proven by the French Navy, which has operated L’Adroit in several oceans for six years for multiple maritime security operations, alone or in cooperation. The three patrol vessels of the series constructed in Concarneau offer the same assets and features as those of the A.R.A. Bouchard. Several developments have been incorporated to meet the needs of the Argentine Navy as closely as possible. Better armed and motorised than the Bouchard, equipped with an active stabilisation system and a bow thruster, it is also Ice proven, i.e., adapted to navigation in the cold waters of Antarctica. They offer:
very high endurance and excellent sea-worthiness;
a 360° visibility from the bridge and a unique mast for a panoramic radar coverage;
the rapid, safe and discrete deployment of intervention crafts launched by a double system of ramps at the stern of the patrol vessel.
This range of ships also benefits from Naval Group’s expertise in information and command systems, allowing for extensive surveillance of the maritime space and the detection of suspicious behaviours. The A.R.A Contraalmirante Cordero is equipped with the POLARIS system and NiDL tactical data link system, specifically developed by Naval Group for state action missions at sea and sea-proven by the French Navy.
The Offshore Patrol Vessel is able to stay on high seas during more than three weeks, to reach a speed of 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h and to accommodate a helicopter. Implemented by a reduced crew of 40 members, it is also able to accommodate about twenty extra passengers.
87 meters/285.4 feet
14 meters/45.9 feet
over 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
59 (crew and passengers)
> 7,000 nautical miles/8,055 miles/12,964 km
two light crafts of 9 meters/29.5 feet and one 10-ton class helicopter
The Marshall Liberal Government has welcomed another massive defence boost to South Australia, with today’s launch (December 16, 2021) of the Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), HMAS Arafura (OPV-203).
The HMAS Arafura (OPV-203) is the first of two new Arafura Class OPVs being constructed in South Australia by Lürssen Australia at the world-class Osborne Naval Shipyard, creating hundreds of direct local jobs through a build program worth $4 billion.
Premier Steven Marshall said today’s milestone reinforces South Australia’s reputation as the defence and space capital of the nation.
«Today is a significant milestone for the OPV program and an important step in Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding program», said the Premier. «We are the defence and space capital of the nation, and this build is creating hundreds of jobs and providing a massive economic boost to our state. South Australia has well and truly cemented its position as the defence and space capital of the country and will continue to power forward and play its part in building and sustaining the nation’s sovereign capabilities. Work on these projects will deliver thousands of jobs in the decades to come, ensuring current and future talent can forge lifelong careers in naval shipbuilding, right here in South Australia».
The OPV program is part of a major expansion of the nation’s naval capabilities being spearheaded in South Australia, which includes delivery of the first two OPVs; a fleet of nine Hunter class frigates; up to eight nuclear-powered submarines; as well as the full cycle docking and life-of-type extension of the Collins class submarines and a major upgrade of the Hobart class destroyers’ combat management system.
This continuous pipeline of projects is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a sustainable supplier base for Australia and develop the skilled and technical workforce required to deliver these complex Defence projects.
Construction of HMAS Arafura (OPV-203) commenced in 2018, with the vessel scheduled to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy in 2022.
Secretary of Defence Mr. Greg Moriarty, together with a large contingent of Defence senior leaders, launched the Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Enterprise and opened the OPV System Program Office at the Henderson maritime precinct.
The OPV Enterprise brings together Commonwealth and defence industry teams under one roof, to build and sustain the Royal Australian Navy’s new Arafura Class OPVs, the first two of which are being constructed in South Australia, with the remaining 10 vessels to be built in Western Australia.
«It is great to see the co-location of Commonwealth shipbuilding and sustainment personnel and Luerssen, CIVMEC and Raytheon industry partners delivering outcomes for our Navy», said Deputy Secretary National Naval Shipbuilding, Mr. Tony Dalton.
Head Maritime Systems, Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm said the establishment of the OPV Enterprise represented an important milestone under the Continuous Shipbuilding Plan.
«The launch marks a critical step towards the implementation of Plan Galileo, an ambitious Future Maritime Sustainment Model which ensures our sustainment organisation engages with acquisition teams early in the build process», Rear Admiral Malcolm said. «Evolution of our asset management, supply chain, infrastructure, improved commercial models and professionalisation across the enterprise will be key to success. This process ensures sustainment needs are considered during the design phase, and brings together Defence, primes, small business and service providers to facilitate sustainment of our naval vessels from strategically located ports around the country. Not only does this promise to deliver long-term jobs to West Australians and confidence for industry to invest in Perth, but it will ensure our Navy is able to meet all Government tasking in order to protect our nation’s security».
The Arafura Class OPVs, which replace the Armidale and Cape Class patrol boats, will be the Australian Defence Force’s main asset for maritime patrol and response duties and will primarily undertake constabulary missions.
The technical launch of the first-in-class patrol vessel (OPV – Offshore Patrol Vessel) «Musherib», ordered to Fincantieri by the Qatari Ministry of Defence within the national naval acquisition program, took place today at the Muggiano (La Spezia) yard, at the presence of the Italian Minister of Defence Lorenzo Guerini, of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Qatar Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, of the Chief of Staff of the Qatari Emiri Navy Major General Abdulla Hassan Al Suleiti, and of the Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, welcomed by the Chairman and CEO of Fincantieri, Giampiero Massolo and Giuseppe Bono. The launch, held privately and in full compliance with the current health regulations, followed the first steel cutting of the vessel «Sumaysimah», fourth corvette of the same program.
The «Musherib» OPV vessel, to be delivered in 2022 and whose design is consistent with the RINAMIL for Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) rules, will be a flexible type of ship capable of performing several services, from surveillance to combat functions. It is about 63 meters/206.7 feet long, 9.2 meters/30.2 feet wide, with a maximum speed of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h and it will accommodate as many as 38 of crew members. The propulsion system has four variable pitch propellers, two to starboard and two to the left, each in line with a diesel propulsion engine. Furthermore, the vessel will be capable of operating a RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) through a crane located at the stern.
The contract, worth for Fincantieri nearly 4 billion euros, envisages the supply of seven surface vessels, including four corvettes, one amphibious vessel (LPD – Landing Platform Dock), and two patrol vessels (OPV – Offshore Patrol Vessel) as well as support services in Qatar for further 10 years after the delivery of the vessels. All the units are entirely built in the Group’s Italian shipyards, ensuring continuity to the activities until 2024 as well as guaranteeing an important impact on the main Italian defense companies.
HMS Trent (P224) has been commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet during a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base on August 3, 2020.
In 2013 it was announced that the Royal Navy had signed an Agreement in Principle to build three new offshore patrol vessels, based on the River-class design, at a fixed price of £348 million including spares and support.
The following year, BAE Systems signed the contract to build the ships on the Clyde in Scotland. The Ministry of Defence stated that the Batch 2 ships are capable of being used for constabulary duties such as «counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations».
According to BAE Systems, the vessels are designed to deploy globally, conducting anti-piracy, counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling tasks currently conducted by frigates and destroyers.
The Royal Navy’s newest vessel HMS Tamar (P233) has raised the White Ensign from her deck for the first time and takes her place as a Fleet warship.
Uniquely conducting the ceremony on her namesake, the River Tamar, the very distinctive Batch 2 River-class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), bears two rampant red lions either side of her superstructure, representing her close affiliations with both Devon and Cornwall.
Over the past few weeks the Ship has been operating around Plymouth Sound and the South West sea training areas, carrying out her acceptance trials and a series of firsts for the ship and her crew. These has included the first helicopter landing – a Wildcat from Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, her first gunnery exercises, as well as boat drills and emergency exercises, that has put the crew through their paces.
HMS Tamar (P233) also has the distinction for being the ‘Greenest Ship in the Royal Navy’ – fitted with ‘catalytic converters’ which reduce nitrogen-based emissions from her engine exhausts by up to 95 per cent. She weighs in at 2,000 tonnes, has a 6,000 nautical mile/10,186 km range and a flight deck capable of carrying a Merlin helicopter. She also has accommodation for up to 50 Royal Marines Commandos and is considered by her crew as the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of Royal Navy vessels.
Lieutenant Commander Michael Hutchinson, Commanding Officer of HMS Tamar (P233) said; «It’s an incredibly proud moment for the ship. We’ve generated really quickly, we’ve done all our training and now we are at the point where we can join the Fleet, and start to get ready for our first deployment later this year».
Affiliated to the Cornish City of Truro, Councillor Bert Biscoe the Mayor Truro has sent his best wishes to the Ship: «On behalf of the community of Truro, the elected members and establishment of Truro City Council, and all those for whom Truro is home and a workplace, may I convey the good wishes and congratulations to the Captain of HMS Tamar (P233) on the auspicious occasion of its commissioning into the Fleet. The River Tamar is the oldest cultural boundary in Europe, and it is fitting that the vessel carries the name of the River which bonds, as a son to his mother, the Duchy of Kernow to the Crown. Long may she patrol and protect us one and all – Tamar bys Vykken»!
Lady Brigitte Peach, the Lady Sponsor of HMS Tamar (P233) also sent a goodwill message on the raising the White Ensign for the first time: «Congratulations to you all on the outstanding achievement of your transition to a Warship proudly bearing the famous White Ensign. From the wonderful moment of her launch just over a year ago, I followed your excellent progress from build acceptance to a fighting platform. Of course, current circumstances have prevented me from being with you at sea and for the memorable moment of the raising of the White Ensign, but I am there with you in spirit and continue to follow your progress with interest. I look forward to joining you when and where circumstances permit, my best wishes for an exciting future. Fair winds and following seas to you all».
HMS Spey (P234), the last of five River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), was named in front of gathered VIPs and employees at an official ceremony in Glasgow on 3 October, 2019.
In keeping with naval tradition, guests watched as Lady Johnstone, HMS Spey’s sponsor, named the 2000 tonne vessel by releasing a bottle of special blend Spey whisky from Speyside Distillery that smashed against the ship’s hull.
HMS Spey (P234) is the last in a class of five vessels that have been built in Glasgow. With construction starting on the first ship in late 2014, these vessels have provided an important opportunity to maintain essential design, construction and systems integration skills, while introducing new processes and technologies that are already being used in the production of the UK’s Type 26 frigates.
David Shepherd, OPV Programme Director said: «Today’s ceremony is a truly significant milestone for the River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel programme and builds on our proud heritage of British shipbuilding here in Glasgow. There has been fantastic momentum on this programme and the naming of HMS Spey serves as a great reminder of the importance of the capability and skills of our employees who are working together with the Royal Navy and partners to deliver these important ships».
Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: «Our Offshore Patrol Vessels play a pivotal role in patrolling our coastline, protecting our domestic waters, and supporting maritime interests from anti-smuggling to fisheries protection. The naming of HMS Spey is an exciting milestone for the OPV programme, demonstrating our commitment to UK shipyards while bolstering the Royal Navy’s capabilities».
HMS Spey (P234) will aid in a range of operations from counter-terrorism, and anti-smuggling to securing the UK’S borders to help keep Britain safe, making her a valuable addition to the Royal Navy fleet.
HMS Forth (P222) and HMS Medway (P223), the first two ships in the class, are now in service with the Royal Navy.
The first of Australia’s Arafura Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) will celebrate a naval tradition with the keel-laying ceremony to bring good luck for the shipbuilders and future crew members.
In the second major milestone of Australia’s newest warship construction program, the keel laying ceremony will see a commemorative coin placed under the keel of the vessel by the youngest shipbuilders in the Osborne Naval Shipyard, followed by the Chief of Navy wedging the coin under the keel.
Luerssen Australia Chairman Tim Wagner said the milestone marked the official start of the ship’s life, and demonstrated the significant progress made already on the Arafura Class program.
«This is another reminder of the importance of the Arafura Class program towards Australia building a sovereign naval shipbuilding capability», Mr. Wagner said. «As the prime contractor and designer for the SEA1180 program, we have been delighted with progress so far, and remain confident that we will deliver all 12 vessels on time and on budget for the Royal Australian Navy».
ASC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Whiley said the Arafura Class shipbuilding program is progressing well, employing more than 150 shipbuilders.
«The Arafura Class is ASC’s second shipbuilding program, commenced as we continue to successfully complete the Air Warfare Destroyer program, and we are very pleased at its progress to date», said Mr. Whiley. «I would also like to pay tribute to the skilled and experienced workforce of ASC Shipbuilding, who are carrying out the shipbuilding work on this program, under contract to ASC».
The youngest male and female shipyard workers, Boilermaker Kane Ramsay and Document Editor Lauren Pitman, will feature in today’s ceremony.
«I’m excited to be part of this new program – it’s great to be looking to the future of shipbuilding», said Kane. «The lead ship is coming together well and it’s great to be a part of today’s traditional milestone. I’m looking forward to seeing the ship completed in the coming months», said Lauren.
Construction of the first of 12 Arafura Class OPVs commenced last November, on time, by prime contractor Luerssen Australia and shipbuilding subcontractor ASC.
The Arafura Class marks the commencement of continuous naval shipbuilding in Australia, which will see major warships and submarines constructed in Osborne, South Australia, and minor warships in Henderson, Western Australia.
The first two OPVs will be constructed at the Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia by ASC, with the Australian steel, cut in Western Australia by Civmec. The remaining ten warships will be constructed at Civmec’s facility in Henderson. It is Luerssen’s intention that the joint venture between Civmec and Luerssen Australia known as Australian Maritime Shipbuilding and Export Group (AMSEG) will play a major role in the construction.
Deputy Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Mark Hammond, joined staff from Navy’s Construction Branch in Adelaide today to mark the start of construction of the first of 12 new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV).
RADM Hammond attended the Osborne Naval Shipyard to see the welding of the first two component blocks which will form part of the first vessel off the production line.
The event included the announcement that Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels will be known as the Arafura Class, with the first vessel to be commissioned HMAS Arafura when she enters service in 2022.
RADM Hammond said calling the vessels Arafura Class reflected the significance of Navy’s lasting operations to protect Australia’s interests in the Arafura Sea between Cape York and Cape Don.
«This name encapsulates the significant role our maritime regions have in the nation’s security and economic prosperity, importantly the littoral regions around the Australian continent», he said. «This is a much more capable class of ship with greater range, endurance, improved accommodation for the crew staying at sea longer and in every respect, it will outperform older patrol boats. The Arafura Class crews will be tight knit, executing very important missions that will ultimately lead to a great sense of camaraderie and achievement in doing something that’s worthwhile».
The Arafura Class is a custom Australian variant of German shipbuilder Lürssen’s PV80 design and is 80 metres/262.5 feet in length with a displacement of around 1,700 tonnes and a draught of 4 metres/13 feet.
The Arafura Class will replace the Armidale Class and Cape Class patrol boats, Huon Class coastal minehunters and Leeuwin Class survey ships and will primarily be used for constabulary missions, maritime patrol and response duties.
The design includes two changeable, containerised mission systems, supporting secondary roles such as mine hunting, unmanned aerial system missions, and hydrographic surveying.
The first two Arafura Class vessels will be built at Osborne with the following ten to be built at Henderson in Western Australia.
Six of the vessels will be based at HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin, four at HMAS Cairns in north Queensland and two at HMAS Stirling in Western Australia.
Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)
Maritime border patrol
Maritime constabulary roles including interdiction