Australian Navy Huon-class minehunters' service life extended

HMAS Huon (II) enters Sydney Heads HMAS Huon (II) enters Sydney Heads

The Australian Government has granted first pass approval to extend the service life for the navy's Huon-class coastal minehunter vessels.

The Head of Navy Capability, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, said the project forecast in the Defence White Paper 2016 will ensure Defence is able to provide an effective maritime mine countermeasure capability out to the 2030s.

"Minehunters play a vital role in protecting Australia’s ships, harbours and infrastructure from the threat of sea mines," Rear Admiral Mead said. "First pass approval is a major milestone for this project that will see the life of the minehunters extended to ensure there is no gap in mine warfare capability as we determine the replacement vessels.

"The Huon-class have proven highly capable, supporting Defence's international engagement strategy through participation in exercises and operations to secure our sea lanes and disposing of Second World War explosive remnants, and they will continue to serve Australia for years to come.

"In addition to its mine warfare role, the Huon-class vessels play a unique role in Defence assistance to the civil community and in 2011 provided support in response to severe flooding in Queensland, including the disposal of debris that posed a navigational hazard," Rear Admiral Mead said.

Defence indicated that negotiations are underway with Thales Australia to engage it as the prime systems integrator to deliver the project. The Huon-class were built by Thales Australia, formerly ADI, and were introduced into service in the early 2000s.

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