Royal Australian Navy minehunter HMAS Gascoyne has successfully completed its unit readiness evaluation after a period in dry dock undergoing an in-depth maintenance and sustainment process.
As part of her evaluation, Gascoyne proved herself against the full spectrum of maritime operations, including general seamanship, navigation, damage control and mine-hunting capabilities.
Supported by the Navy’s Sea Training Group, realistic scenarios allowed the crew to test themselves and their skills to ensure they remain ready to fight and win at sea.
The evaluation was a culmination of a long period of preparation, training and assessments for the crew, many of whom deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist earlier in the year.
Commanding Officer HMAS Gascoyne, Lieutenant Commander Sean Aitken, said he was proud of how his crew worked together in the challenging circumstances to complete the evaluation.
"After what has been a challenging year with Gascoyne completing a lengthy refit period, coupled with dry docking and COVID-19, it’s great to see the hard work and effort team Gascoyne has put in leading into the work-up period culminate in successfully completing evaluation," LCDR Aitken said.
Gascoyne will return to her home port at HMAS Waterhen for some downtime before sailing to complete the Mine Clearance Diving Group Task Group Certification.
Combat systems operator mine warfare Able Seaman Caid Upton was one of Gascoyne’s crew to support Defence’s contribution in the fight against COVID-19.
"While deploying at home was a unique and humbling experience, getting back to sea with the crew helped bring some normality back to this year," AB Upton explained.
The RAN Huon Class was designed in Italy as the Gaeta Class for the Italian Navy, and then modified to suit Australian conditions.
The Minehunters feature a unique hull design, shock resistance and a low magnetic signature, allowing the class to operate in hostile mine environments. Each single hull has been designed with no ribs, frames or stiffeners, which avoid stress points that could separate under shock conditions.
The Huon Class are fit with Variable Depth Sonar capable of detection ranges in excess of 1,000 metres ahead of the ship. When a mine is detected in a water column or on the seabed, the ship will come within 200 metres from contact, before a mine disposal vehicle or clearance divers are sent to investigate and/or neutralise the threat.