HMAS
Air View

Class
Air/Sea Search and Rescue Vessel
Type
Air-Sea Rescue Launch
Pennant
ASR 923
Builder
Fellows & Stewart Inc, USA
Commissioned
20 November 1944
Decommissioned
30 September 1946
Fate
Transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1949
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 24 tons
Length 63ft (19.2m)
Beam 15 ft (4.57m)
Draught 3 ft 4 in (1.01m)
Performance
Speed Up to 28 knots
Complement
Crew 7-8 including 2 RAAF telegraphists
Propulsion
Machinery Twin Hall-Scott petrol engines
Horsepower 1,200 bhp
Armament
Guns 2 x twin Lewis guns

HMAS Air View was one of 21 air/ sea rescue (ASR) vessels originally built in the USA and Canada between 1943 and 1945, and transferred to the RAN under the Lend-Lease Agreement. These vessels were originally designed as anti-submarine craft but their high speed and manoeuvrability made them ideal as search and rescue vessels. In this role, their hulls were painted black and their upper decks and superstructure painted bright yellow. One vessel, HMAS Air Sprite, was built locally in 1960 to an almost identical design.

Air View was commissioned on 20 November 1944 in Sydney under the command of Sub-Lieutenant Lowell Williams, RANR, and officially listed as a tender to HMAS Rushcutter, and later to HMAS Melville. Her first months in commission saw her under the control of the RAN Torpedo Factory (RANTF) until April 1945 after which she proceeded to Jervis Bay for ASR duties with the ships of the British Pacific Fleet.

She returned to the control of the RANTF in May and June, and also conducted radar trials with ML 428, ML 810, ML 818 and ML 822. She underwent a refit from 23 June to 23 August after which she returned to RANTF control.

On 4 September, Air View departed Sydney bound for Darwin. While at Cairns on 19 to 21 September, a 15 foot army punt broke loose of its moorings and struck Air View astern damaging two blades of her starboard propeller. The damage became apparent only after the boat departed Cairns and was subsequently repaired at Thursday Island. She arrived at Darwin on 7 October where she conducted ASR duties until she was re-assigned to Queensland waters to provide ASR cover between Thursday Island and the RAAF airfield at Red Island Point.

She returned to Brisbane on 11 July 1946 and was decommissioned on 30 September. She was transferred to the RAAF in 1949.

Air View nested alongside Air Cloud in Darwin Harbour
Air View nested alongside Air Cloud in Darwin Harbour
A general arrangement plan of the Air class search & rescue vessels
A general arrangement plan of the Air class search & rescue vessels