HMAS Air Sprite

HMAS Air Sprite (Y 256/SAR 6301) was an air-sea rescue vessel operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was an Australian-built version of the 63-foot (19 m) air-sea rescue vessels which the RAN operated during World War II, with the only difference being that she was fitted with a lattice mast instead of the tripod masts in the older ships.[1] Air Sprite was ordered in 1958 and was built by Lars Halvorsen and Sons in Sydney.[1] She was commissioned into the RAN on 15 June 1960 and was based at HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay near the RAN Fleet Air Arm's base, HMAS Albatross.[1]

Australia (RAN)
Ordered: 1958
Builder: Lars Halvorsen and Sons
Laid down: 1959
Commissioned: 15 June 1960
Decommissioned: 1976
Fate: Sunk as a target, 17 May 1979
General characteristics
Displacement: 24 tons
Length: 63 ft (19.2 m)
Beam: 15.6 ft (4.8 m)
Draught: 4 ft (1.2 m)
Propulsion: 2 × Hall Scott Defender, twin screws, 1,260 shp
Speed: 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph)
Range: 200 mi (320 km)
Complement: 6-8
Armament: Light arms
Notes: Taken from:[1]

On the night of 10 February 1964 Air Sprite was one of two air-sea rescue vessels which responded to the collision between HMAS Melbourne and Voyager in Jervis Bay. Air Sprite rescued 36 Voyager crewmen and HMAS Air Nymph saved a further 34.[2]

In 1976 Air Sprite was laid up at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney for a major refit, which was scheduled for mid-1977, prior to being used as a general purpose vessel in Western Australia.[1] This refit did not go ahead, and instead the ship was marked for disposal.[1] Air Sprite was sunk as a target by a Tartar missile fired by HMAS Brisbane on 17 May 1979.[1]


  1. Gillett, Ross (1988). Australian and New Zealand Warships Since 1946. Sydney: Child & Associates. p. 40. ISBN 0-86777-219-0.
  2. McNicoll, D.D. (11 February 2009). "Forgotten saviours". The Australian. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
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