HMAS Huon has recently put her Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving departments to the test during a series of mine disposal charge firings and demolitions serials while on patrol in Australia’s northern waters.
During the serials, each of Huon’s Mine Warfare defence watches successfully conducted search and classification drills of training mines, coordinated mine disposal vehicle runs and placement of a mine disposal charge.
Mine disposal vehicles are equipped with a search light, closed circuit low light television camera, and onboard detection and identification sonar. The charge, or DAMDIC, is slung under the vehicle for release in close proximity to the mine. The charge is detonated via thin wire link running from the ship.
For many of the ship witnessing the detonation of a DAMDIC was a first. This included Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mine Warfare Bethany Clackett who swapped her boarding party gear for a headset during the serial.
“I enjoyed putting my mine warfare skills into play after focusing on boarding operations for the last three months,” Seaman Clackett said
“The watches were competing to be the most efficient to carry out a vehicle run and demolitions practice.
“The use of explosive ordnance made it that much more exciting."
Not to be outdone, Clearance Diving Officer Lieutenant Samuel Mairs and his team took the opportunity to conduct a demolitions serial. The explosions from their serial created a significant water plume, impressing the ship’s company.
“This is our first serial since disposing of Second World War bombs at Quail Island in August,” Lieutenant Mairs said.
“Although the team is focused on boarding we are always keen to conduct to our core role.”
HMAS Huon is a Mine Hunter Coastal based in Sydney and was commissioned in 1999.