Two Royal Australian Navy minehunters, HMAS Huon and HMAS Diamantina, spent the past four weeks training together before they set sail for their south-west Pacific deployment and support to operation Render Safe 16.
This year’s iteration of Render Safe will be taking place in the vicinity of the Solomon Islands.
The operation provides Australia’s support to reduce the threat of explosive remnants of war in the region. Through the operation, Australian Defence Force both fosters positive international relations with regional and participating partner nations and maintains capability in unexploded ordnance, explosive remnants of war identification and disposal.
“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,” Commanding Officer of Houn, Lieutenant Commander Jason Mullen said.
Before they commenced their passage to the Solomon Islands, both Huon and Diamantina completed a mission readiness evaluation 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.
Royal Australian Navy’s six Huon-class minehunters are made of fibre reinforced plastic and have a unique single skin solid hull that has no ribs or frames and provides high underwater shock resistance and very low magnetic and noise levels.
The hulls are designed to flex inwards if an undersea explosion occurs nearby. All machinery/equipment is mounted on cradles or suspended from bulkheads to further enhance resistance to shock damage and protect ship systems.