HMAS
Norman
(II)

HMAS Norman (II) at anchor during Fleet Divisions
Class
Huon Class
Type
Minehunter Coastal (MHC)
Role Mine Warfare
Pennant
M 84
International Callsign
VLTE
Motto
No Surrender
Builder
ADI Newcastle
Launched
3 May 1999
Commissioned
26 August 2000
Decommissioned
20 September 2018
Fate
To be sold
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 732 tonnes
Length 52.5 metres
Beam 9.9 metres
Draught 3 metres
Performance
Speed 14 knots
Range 1600 nautical miles
Complement
Crew 46
Propulsion
Machinery
  • 1 x Fincantieri GMT diesel
  • 3 x Isotta Fraschini 1300 diesels
  • 3 x electrohydraulic motors
  • Riva Calzoni retractable/rotatable APUs
Armament
Guns 1 x MSI DS 30B 30mm
Physical Countermeasures
  • 2 x Bofors SUTEC Double-Eagle Mk 2 mine disposal vehicles
  • 2 x MEL Aviation Super Barricade chaff launchers
Electronic Countermeasures AWADI Prism
Radars Kelvin Hughes 1007
Sonars GEC-Marconi Type 2093
Combat Data Systems GEC-Marconi Nautis 2M
Weapon Control Systems Radamec 1400N optronic surveillance system
Awards
Inherited Battle Honours
Resources
News Articles
Image Gallery
HMAS Norman (II) ships badge

HMAS Norman (II) was the third of six Huon class minehunter coastal (MHC) vessels built for the Royal Australian Navy by Australian Defence Industries (ADI), Newcastle. The Huon class was the most advanced of its type in the world. Like her sister ships, Norman was made of fibre reinforced plastic and had a unique single skin solid hull that had no ribs or frames, providing high underwater shock resistance, and very low magnetic and noise levels. This hull was designed to flex inwards if an undersea explosion occurred nearby. All machinery and equipment was mounted on cradles or suspended from bulkheads to further enhance resistance to shock damage and protect ship systems.

Left: Red and white flags provide a colourful sight at the recent launch of the minehunter HMAS Norman (II). HMAS Norman is the third of the six Huon Class minehunters ADI Limited produced for the Royal Australian Navy under a billion contract being completed at Newcastle, Australia. Right: The ceremony before the launching.
Left: HMAS Norman's launch provided a colourful spectacle in Newcastle where she was built. The ship was the third of the six Huon Class minehunters ADI Limited produced for the Royal Australian Navy. Right: Guests assemble prior to the official ceremony.
 
Left: The official party for the launching of Norman. Right: Norman being launched into the water for the first time.
Left: The official party at the launching of Norman. Right: Norman takes to the water for the first time.
Norman after being launched.
Norman shortly after being launched.

She was launched on 3 May 1999 by Ms Agatha Grey-Wilson, the great granddaughter of Commander William Norman, a former commander of the Victorian colonial naval forces prior to Federation, and after whom the Norman River and the town of Normanton in Far North Queensland is named. Commander Norman was the commanding officer of HMVS Victoria when the sloop conducted a search for the explorers Burke and Wills in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1861.

Norman conducting sea trials in Newcastle, NSW prior to commissioning. Note the red ensign.
Norman conducting sea trials in Newcastle, NSW, prior to commissioning. Note the red ensign visible on her quarterdeck.
 

Following sea trials which included a series of carefully controlled underwater explosions to prove her ability to withstand shocks associated with mine clearance operations, Norman commissioned into the RAN under the command of Lieutenant Commander Simon Glastonbury, RAN, at HMAS Waterhen on 26 August 2000. She put to sea two days later to immediately commence mine hunting exercises in Victorian waters. In October and November she completed a circumnavigation of Australia.

HMAS Norman (II)’s commissioning booklet.
HMAS Norman (II)'s commissioning booklet.
 

Norman was a regular participant in fleet exercises taking part in; Exercises OCEAN PROTECTOR and TANDEM THRUST in 2001; Exercises MULGOGGER and DUGONG in 2002; Exercises TASMANEX and CROCODILE in 2003; Exercise MULGOGGER in 2004; Exercises MULGOGGER and TALISMAN SABRE in 2005; Exercises MULGOGGER, TALISMAN SABRE, DUGONG and PACIFIC REACH in 2007; Exercises MULGOGGER and DAY SEAL in 2008; and a Fleet Concentration Period which concluded with a Fleet Entry and Review in 2009. She also conducted surveillance operations around the Bass Strait oil rigs in support of Operation ESTES.

She visited South East Asia on five occasions in; August/September 2002 when she participated in Exercises HUNTER and STARDEX; May to July 2003 when she took part in Exercise FLYING FISH; September/October 2005 to partake in Exercise BERSAMA LIMA; May to July 2006 when she participated in the Western Pacific Mine Counter-Measures Exercise and Exercise PENGUIN; and September to November 2008 to once again participate in Exercise BERSAMA LIMA. She visited the western South Pacific in May/June 2002 where the ship's demolition and diving teams, at the request of the Tongan Port Authority, destroyed some underwater obstructions in the main shipping channel into Nuku'alofa Harbour.

In November 2005, while returning to Sydney from her South East Asian deployment, Norman and HMAS Gascoyne conducted an unsuccessful search for the wreck of an ultralight aircraft which had crashed into the sea off Byron Bay a week earlier. The following March Norman provided support to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne under the auspices of Operation ACOLYTE. She operated as part of the Under Water Task Group and was charged with confirming the underwater picture and identifying contacts of interest in and around the Yarra River.

Defence, as part of the overall Australian Government contribution, worked alongside Victoria Police to provide security for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, as well as providing a range of ceremonial and general support to Melbourne 2006 (M2006) Corporation and the Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination, the Victorian Government's Games organisers. This support was known as Operation ACOLYTE. Acolyte is Greek for 'Helper' or 'Assistant' and was chosen to symbolise Defence's supporting role.
HMAS Norman played an important role providing security for the 2006 Commonwealth Games held in Victoria, under the auspices of Operation ACOLYTE. Acolyte is a Greek word for 'Helper' or 'Assistant' and was chosen to symbolise Defence's supporting role in the staging of the Commonwealth Games. Top left: HMAS Norman in the Yarra River, Melbourne. Top right: SBLT Grant Hamilton carrying out navigation duties as the ship cruses through the Docklands. Bottom left: SBLT Chris Meaker keeping watch as HMAS Norman negotiates the Yarra River, Melbourne. Bottom right: Submerged MDV (mine disposal vehicle) on board HMAS Norman searches for mines in the Yarra River.
Huon Class Mine Hunter Coastals HMAS Norman (M84) and HMAS Yarra (M87) enter into Fleet Base West for Exercise PACIFIC REACH 07.
Huon Class Mine Hunter Coastals HMAS Norman (M84) and HMAS Yarra (M87) arriving at Fleet Base West for Exercise PACIFIC REACH 07.
 
HMAS Norman leaves HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin for Exercise BERSAMA LIMA 2008, 25 September 2008. Exercise BERSAMA LIMA is an annual exercise with air, ground and naval forces from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Malaysia participating to practice inter-operability amongst the countries.
HMAS Norman leaves HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin for Exercise BERSAMA LIMA, 25 September 2008. Exercise BERSAMA LIMA is an annual exercise with air, ground and naval forces from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Malaysia participating to practice inter-operability amongst the countries.

On 27 October 2008 while alongside in Singapore, Norman was struck by lightning affecting a number of the ship's systems and resulting in a curtailed deployment while repairs were carried out. The deployment was further marred when, on 30 November, while en route back to Sydney, Sub Lieutenant James Bennett, RAN, went missing while swimming at Babinda Boulders south of Cairns. An extensive search was initiated involving Queensland Police, the North Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and an Emergency Services specialist dive team. Sub Lieutenant Bennett's body was recovered on 2 December. The tragic loss of this highly regarded officer had a profound effect on the crew.

Norman was also occasionally employed in hydrographic work and conducted routine survey operations in and around Cockburn Sound, Western Australia, in 2000, and in March and April 2009 conducted a search for shipping containers lost overboard from MV Pacific Adventurer in the vicinity of Moreton Island, Queensland, during Tropical Cyclone Hamish.

She was awarded the Rushcutter's Shield in 2007, the award presented to the MHC or Clearance Diving Team foremost in all aspects of mine counter measures operations, safety, reliability and unit level training.

In recognition of the outstanding efforts of her crew throughout the 2007 calendar year, the Rushcutter Shield was awarded to HMAS Norman (II). Left: Guest of honour, Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Nigel S Coates, AM, presents the Rushcutter Shield to Commanding Officer of HMAS Norman, Lieutenant Commander Cameron Steel, 14 February 2014. Right: Ship's company of HMAS Norman with the Rushcutter Shield.
The Kelly Shield was first presented to MSA Koraaga in 1993 for Mine Counter Measures Proficiency. The Shield was renamed the Rushcutter Shield in 2003 and now recognises Mine Warfare proficiency and excellence. The award is presented annually to the vessel or Diving Team which has performed at the highest level in terms of effectiveness and efficiency throughout the calendar year. In recognition of the outstanding efforts of her crew throughout the 2007 calendar year, the Rushcutter Shield was awarded to HMAS Norman. Left: Guest of honour, Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Nigel S Coates, AM, presents the Rushcutter Shield to Commanding Officer of HMAS Norman, Lieutenant Commander Cameron Steel, 14 February 2014. Right: Ship's company of HMAS Norman with the Rushcutter Shield.
Mine Hunter Coastal HMAS Hawkesbury (83), HMAS Norman (84) and HMAS Gascoyne (85) in the dry dock at Fleet Base East Garden Island, 19 August 2010.
Mine Hunter Coastal HMAS Hawkesbury (83), HMAS Norman (84) and HMAS Gascoyne (85) in the dry dock at Fleet Base East Garden Island, 19 August 2010.

In June 2009 it was decided that two MHCs would be placed into an Extended Readiness Availability. The two ships selected were Norman and HMAS Hawkesbury. The decision effectively brought an end to Norman’s operational career. Following a visit to Tasmania and Jervis Bay, she returned to Sydney in September where she remained until decommissioning on 31 October 2018.