HMAS Huon (M 82)

HMAS Huon (M 82), named for the Huon River, is the lead ship of the Huon class of minehunters operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The first of six ships built by a joint partnership of Australian Defence Industries (ADI) and Intermarine SpA, Huon's hull was fabricated at Intermarine's Italian shipyard, then freighted to ADI facilities at Newcastle for completion. She entered service in 1999.

HMAS Huon at Darling Harbour in January 2010
Name: Huon
Namesake: Huon River
Builder: Australian Defence Industries
Laid down: September 1994
Launched: 25 July 1997
Commissioned: 15 May 1999
Honours and
One inherited battle honour
Status: Active as of 2016
General characteristics
Class and type: Huon-class minehunter
Displacement: 732 tons at full load
Length: 52.5 m (172 ft)
Beam: 9.9 m (32 ft)
Draught: 3 m (9.8 ft)
  • 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph) on diesel
  • 6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph) on thrusters
Range: 1,600 nautical miles (3,000 km; 1,800 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Endurance: 19 days
Complement: 6 officers and 34 sailors, plus up to 9 additional
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Kelvin-Hughes Type 1007 navigational radar
  • GEC-Marconi Type 2093M variable-depth minehunting sonar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:

The minehunter was temporarily deactivated for half of 2006, but reactivated for use as a border protection patrol boat, a role alternated with other members of the class. In 2011, Huon surveyed the waters around Brisbane following the 2010–2011 Queensland floods. In 2013, Huon participated in the International Fleet Review, and became the first minor war vessel to receive the Gloucester Cup.

Design and construction

In 1993, the Department of Defence issued a request for tender for six coastal minehunters to replace the problematic Bay-class minehunters.[1] The tender was awarded in August 1994 to Australian Defence Industries (ADI) and Intermarine SpA, which proposed a modified Gaeta-class minehunter.[1][2]

Huon has a full load displacement of 732 tons, is 52.5 metres (172 ft) long, has a beam of 9.9 metres (32 ft), and a draught of 3 metres (9.8 ft).[3] Main propulsion is a single Fincantieri GMT BL230-BN diesel motor, which provides 1,985 brake horsepower (1,480 kW) to a single controllable-pitch propeller, allowing the ship to reach 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph).[4] Maximum range is 1,600 nautical miles (3,000 km; 1,800 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph), and endurance is 19 days.[3][4] The standard ship's company consists of 6 officers and 34 sailors, with accommodation for 9 additional (typically trainees or clearance divers).[3] The main armament is a MSI DS30B 30 mm cannon, supplemented by two 0.50 calibre machine guns.[4] The sensor suite includes a Kelvin-Hughes Type 1007 navigational radar, a GEC-Marconi Type 2093M variable-depth minehunting sonar, an AWADI PRISM radar warning and direction-finding system, and a Radamec 1400N surveillance system.[3] Two Wallop Super Barricade decoy launchers are also fitted.[3]

For minehunting operations, Huon uses three 120 horsepower (89 kW) Riva Calzoni azimuth thrusters to provide a maximum speed of 6 knots (11 km/h; 6.9 mph): two are located at the stern, while the third is sited behind the variable-depth sonar.[4] Mines are located with the minehunting sonar, and can be disposed of by the vessel's two Double Eagle mine disposal vehicles, the Oropesa mechanical sweep, the Mini-Dyad magnetic influence sweep, or the towed AMASS influence sweep (which is not always carried).[4] To prevent damage if a mine is detonated nearby, the ships were built with a glass-reinforced plastic, moulded in a single monocoque skin with no ribs or framework.[4] As the ships often work with clearance divers, they are fitted with a small recompression chamber.[3]

Huon's hull was laid down during September 1994 at the Intermarine SpA Sarzana shipyard in Italy, and was transferred out to ADI's Newcastle facility as deck cargo, arriving on 31 August 1995.[3] Completed in Newcastle, the ship was launched on 25 July 1997 and commissioned on 15 May 1999.[3]

Operational history

Following the 2003 Defence Capability Review, HMAS Huon and sister ship HMAS Hawkesbury were slated for deactivation. Huon was deactivated on 23 March 2006, with plans to preserve the minehunter for four years should the need to reactivate the vessel become apparent.[5] Huon was reactivated in the second half of 2006 for use as a patrol boat.[6] As of 2008, Huon and Hawkesbury were taking turns supporting border security operations.[7]

In January 2011, Huon was one of three RAN vessels deployed to survey Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River for submerged debris as part of Operation Queensland Flood Assist, the Australian Defence Force response to the 2010–2011 Queensland floods.[8]

In October 2013, Huon participated in the International Fleet Review 2013 in Sydney.[9] The ship was presented the Gloucester Cup for "excelling above all others [RAN warships] throughout 2013 in operations, safety, seamanship, reliability and training" on 30 April 2014, becoming the first minor warship to receive this award.[10]


  1. "Australia plans new mine warfare force". Jane's International Defence Review. Jane's Information Group. 26 (6). 1 June 1993.
  2. "Defence Materiel Organisation – Sea 1555 Project". Department of Defence – Australian Government. 13 June 2006. Archived from the original on 3 October 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2007.
  3. Saunders (ed.), IHS Jane's Fighting Ships 2012–2013, p. 33
  4. Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 23
  5. Brooke, Michael (23 March 2006). "Huon deactivated". NAVY News (Volume 49, No. 4). Retrieved 23 January 2007.
  6. Brooke, Michael (1 June 2006). "Huons reactivated". Navy News. Retrieved 3 March 2007.
  7. Saunders, Stephen (ed.) (2008). Jane's Fighting Ships 2008–2009. Jane's Fighting Ships (111th ed.). Surrey: Jane's Information Group. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7106-2845-9. OCLC 225431774.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. "Minesweeper joins search for river debris". ABC News. 18 January 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  9. "Participating Warships". International Fleet Review 2013 website. Royal Australian Navy. 2013. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  10. "HMAS Huon Presented Top Fleet Award by the Governor-General". Media release. Department of Defence. 30 April 2014. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.


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