At only 52.5m long, mine hunter coastal HMAS Huon, punches above her weight. With an almost endless list of jobs the vessel can be turned to, she is leading the way with some of the most technologically advanced equipment and a highly trained crew.
Like her sister ships, her diverse capability is enhanced by Mine Disposal Vehicles, a Variable Depth Sonar, Velocity of Sound Dips, highly trained Mine Warfare Combat Systems Operators and Clearance Divers.
Commanding Officer of Houn, Lieutenant Commander Jason Mullen said that HMA Ships Huon and Diamantina had sailed in company for the past four weeks in preparation for their south-west Pacific deployment and support to Operation RENDER SAFE 16.
The operation provides Australia's enduring support to reduce the threat of explosive remnants of war in the region. It fosters positive international relations with regional and participating partner nations, while maintaining Australian Defence Force capability in unexploded ordnance, explosive remnants of waridentification and disposal.
This year RENDER SAFE will be takng place in the vicinity of the Solomon Islands.
"After deploying from Sydney, we made a short stop in Townsville to embark additional ordnance and now each ship carries over one thousand kilograms of ordnance which will be used to help dispose of remnants that pose a threat to the locals both on land and at sea,” Lieutenant Commander Mullen.said.
Before they commenced their passage to the Solomon Islands, both Huon and Diamantina completed a mission readiness valuation where the ships displayed their ability to identify and neutralise underwater explosive ordnance, a skill that is likely to be called upon during the operation.
Whilst in company, both Huon and Diamantina took the opportunity to prepare for their deployment by conducting a number of evolutions together such as replenishment approaches, light line transfers, towing approaches and officer-of-the-watch manoeuvres.
Most of these evolutions were conducted one after another to test endurance and ensure that both ships can maintain a robust fighting capability.
These evolutions, along with confirming competency, were also used to train some of the junior members onboard Huon.
Old traditions were also upheld as Huon transferred over some ice blocks and a pineapple to refresh Diamantina’s crew and tastefully increase morale.