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ADF announces decommissioning of HMAS Huon minehunter coastal vessel

HMAS Huon prepares to dock in support of Operation Vanuatu Assist 2017. Photo: LSIS Jake Badior

The Australian Defence Force has announced the decommissioning of the minehunter coastal vessel, HMAS Huon (II) later this month.

The Australian Defence Force has announced the decommissioning of the minehunter coastal vessel, HMAS Huon (II) later this month.

HMAS Huon (II), the first of six Huon Class minehunter coastal vessels, will be decommissioned on Thursday, 30 May, following 25 years of service with the Royal Australian Navy. A decommissioning ceremony is expected to be held at the ship’s homeport of HMAS Waterhen in Sydney, NSW, on the same day.

The 52-metre long, 46-crew member, 1,600 nautical mile ranged vessel was originally commissioned in May 1999 and launched in July 1997 after being designed in Italy from the Italian Navy’s Gaeta Class and built by ADI Newcastle. It was outfitted with improved accommodation and minehunting modifications to suit Australian conditions. The Huon name was derived from Australian rivers, and it was the second ship to carry the title after World War I River Class Destroyer, HMAS Huon (I).

HMAS Huon (II) featured a unique hull design with an inherently low magnetic signature to facilitate operation in hostile mine environments. It also was equipped with variable depth sonar capable of detection ranges in excess of 1,000 metres ahead of the ship, a pair of electrically powered Bofors Underwater Systems Double Eagle mine disposal vehicles equipped with a searchlight, closed-circuit low-light television camera and an onboard close-range identification sonar.

It was also fitted with an MSI DS30B Oerlikon 30mm rapid-fire cannon, the only 30mm cannon in service with the Australian Defence Force.

Earlier this month, the ship’s company of HMAS Huon marched through the streets during a Freedom of Entry ceremony in Huonville, Tasmania. The crew of Royal Australian Navy minehunter HMAS Huon and members of the Navy Band marched in a Freedom of Entry ceremony at Huonville in south-east Tasmania in a tradition that dates back to medieval times. Granting of Freedom of Entry is the highest accolade a town can award a military unit, bestowing the right to march through the streets with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and ensign flying. The ceremony is a mark of trust and respect.

Late last year, HMAS Huon was one of the vessels tasked by the Royal Australian Navy to conduct search operations in the vicinity of Lindeman Island, Queensland, on July 2023 during Exercise Talisman Sabre 23. The vessel provided underwater sensor, sonar detection, clearance diving and remotely operated vehicle capabilities in assistance during the multinational and multi-agency search effort following an Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopter impacting waters near Lindeman Island on 28 July last year.

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