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Australia launches first OPV but delivery will be six months late

16th December 2021 - 20:25 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Christchurch

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This is the future HMAS Arafura ready for launch in South Australia. (RAN)

The first OPV for the Royal Australian Navy has been launched, but the programme is experiencing difficulties because of COVID-19 delays and weapon integration issues.

The first Arafura-class OPV for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was launched at the Osborne Naval Shipyard near Adelaide, South Australia on 16 December.

Construction of the vessel had started on 15 November 2018, with its keel laid on 10 May 2019. Its launch was attended by the governor and premier of South Australia, the defence minister and chief of navy.

The 12-OPV programme is running behind schedule because the first 1,640t ship was due to be commissioned in late 2021. Instead, it is just being launched, plus serious integration issues have forced changes to its main armament.

The

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