HMAS Huon has tested a critical piece of mine countermeasures equipment and practiced helicopter operations as part of Exercise OCEAN EXPLORER.
Over a two-week period, the mine hunter tested her Type 2093 variable depth sonar for accuracy and carried out vertical replenishments and personnel transfers with aircraft from 723 Squadron.
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Jason Mullen said the role of the mine hunters - to find, identify and dispose of mines – often placed them in harm’s way.
For that reason, all systems onboard needed to be validated on a regular basis to ensure mines and obstacles were dealt with at a safe distance.
“We need to be fully cognisant of our system’s capabilities as this affects how we train and do business,” he said.
OCEAN EXPLORER was a multinational exercise designed to test the Navy’s ability to conduct high-end warfare.
As part of the exercise conducted in locations around Australia, HMA Ships Huon, Diamantina and Yarra conducted maritime advance force training in Jervis and Broken Bays, in New South Wales.
Lieutenant Commander Mullen said the mine hunters were an essential part of Navy’s advance force operations.
“The mine hunters ensure a body of water is safe for shipping prior to the arrival of the follow-on forces, such as an amphibious platform,” he said.
“Once the mine hunters, the clearance diving teams and the mine warfare teams have reduced any potential mine threat to a minimum, the amphibious landing can begin.”
Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Task Group oversaw the training.
Huon successfully conducted all validation trials of the Type 2093 sonar and is now waiting on scientists to conduct their operational analysis and report.
OCEAN EXPLORER marks the start of a busy year for Huon with another major exercise, TALISMAN SABER and an end-of-year deployment scheduled.
The Type 2093 can be operated in hull-mounted mode or in variable depth mode. The sonar has dual-frequency search and classification capability.
In the variable depth mode both frequencies operate simultaneously, the lower frequency covering mid-water to surface depths and the higher frequency covering the seabed.
The system achieves a detection range greater than 1000 metres and a classification range greater than 200 metres.