Originally designed in Italy as the Gaeta Class for the Italian Navy, the RAN Huon Class Minehunter has been modified to suit Australian conditions, including improved accommodation and mine hunting capabilities.
Displacement: 720 tons
Length: 52.5 metres
Beam: 9.9 metres
Draught: 4.87 metres
Speed: 14 knots (26 km/h)
Range: 2,800 km at 12 knots
Ships company: 36-40
Sensors and processing systems:
GEC Marconi 2093 Sonar Armament:
1 x 30 mm DS30B rapid fire cannon
2 x .50 calibre machine guns
2 x SUTEC Double Eagle mine disposal vehicles
The Huon Class feature a unique hull design, outstanding shock resistance and an inherently low magnetic signature, allowing the ships to operate in hostile mine environments. Each single skin monocoque hull has been designed without any ribs, frames or stiffeners, to avoid local stress points that could separate under shock conditions.
For their mine countermeasure operations the ships are fitted with a Variable Depth Sonar capable of detection ranges in excess of 1,000 metres ahead of the ship. When a mine is detected in a water column or on the seabed, the ship will 'hover' about 200 metres from the contact. A mine disposal vehicle or Clearance Divers will then be sent to investigate and neutralise the mine threat.
Each ship is fitted with a pair of electrically powered Bofors Underwater Systems Double Eagle mine disposal vehicles equipped with a searchlight, low light television camera and close range identification sonar. Commands are relayed via a fibre optic link inside the vehicle's tether cable, which also relays sensor images for display on the ship's console in the operations room.
Each Double Eagle vehicle is fitted with either a disposal charge slung beneath or an explosive or mechanical cutter designed to sever the wire rope or chain holding moored mines.
The Cormorant Lift Bag is activated from a remote control unit that can be located up to a kilometre away, ensuring safety for the divers. The lift bag fills with air from cylinders, bringing the mine to the surface. The mine can then be towed to a safe place for defusing or detonation.
These are the members tasked with operating the Combat Data System including sensor equipment such as Mine Hunting Classification/Detection Sonars, be involved in the operation of the Double Eagle mine-disposal vehicles and surface radars. Additionally, CSOMW sailors are classified as a Weapons User category. This means they are taught to operate a variety of small arms and the 12.7mm heavy machine gun to a high level of proficiency.