The keel for the first of 12 Arafura-class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) has been completed, representing a significant step forward in the delivery of the SEA 1180 program for the Royal Australian Navy.

Using more than 50 tonnes of steel processed and formed by Civmec at its Henderson facility in Western Australia and assembled by ASC at their Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, the key milestone was achieved on time and on budget.

"This represents the ongoing success story of the government’s $90 billion continuous shipbuilding endeavour in Australia," said Defence Minister Christopher Pyne.

This milestone has been achieved just four months after commencement of construction.

The new Arafura-class will replace and improve upon the capability of the Navy’s Armidale Class Patrol Boats when they commence service from 2022. Following the build of the first two vessels in South Australia, Civmec will undertake specific fabrication and construction activities for the following 10 vessels, in partnership with Luerssen Australia. Final consolidation of these vessels will be undertaken in Civmec’s new world-class Ship Assembly Hall currently under construction at its waterfront facilities in Henderson.