HMAS Leeuwin (A 245)

HMAS Leeuwin (HS 01/A 245) is the lead ship of the Leeuwin class of hydrographic survey vessels operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).

HMAS Leeuwin operating off Singapore in 2011
HMAS Leeuwin operating off Singapore in 2010
Namesake: Cape Leeuwin
Ordered: 2 April 1996
Builder: NQEA Australia, Cairns
Launched: 19 July 1997
Commissioned: 27 May 2000
Homeport: HMAS Cairns
Motto: I Shall Maintain
Status: Active as of 2019
Badge: Ship's badge
General characteristics
Class and type: Leeuwin-class survey vessel
Displacement: 2,170 tons
Length: 71.2 m (234 ft)
Beam: 15.2 m (50 ft)
Draught: 4.3 m (14 ft)
  • 4 × GEC Alsthom 6RK 215 generators, 2 × Alsthom electric motors, 2 shafts
  • 1 × Schottel bow thruster
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Range: 18,000 nautical miles (33,000 km; 21,000 mi) at 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph)
Complement: 10 officers, 46 sailors, up to 5 trainees
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Navigation:
  • STN Atlas 9600 ARPA; I-band.
  • Sonar:
  • C-Tech CMAS 36/39; hull mounted high frequency active sonar
  • Atlas Fansweep-20 multibeam echo sounder
  • Atlas Hydrographic Deso single-beam echo sounder
  • Klein 2000 towed sidescan sonar array
Armament: 2 × 12.7 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: 1 × AS 350B Squirrel (not permanently embarked)

Design and construction

Leeuwin has a displacement of 2,170 tons at full load.[1] She is 71.2 metres (234 ft) long, with a beam of 15.2 metres (50 ft), and a draught of 4.3 metres (14 ft).[1] Main propulsion machinery consists of four GEC Alsthom 6RK 215 diesel generators, which supply two Alsthom electric motors, each driving a propeller shaft.[1] A Schottel bow thruster is fitted for additional manoeuvrability.[1] Maximum speed is 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph), with a range of 18,000 nautical miles (33,000 km; 21,000 mi) at 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph).[1]

The sensor suite consists of a STN Atlas 9600 APRA I-band navigational radar, a C-Tech CMAS 36/39 hull-mounted sonar, an Atlas Fansweep-20 multibeam echo sounder, an Atlas Hydrographic Deso single-beam echo sounder, and a Klein 2000 towed sonar.[1] The sonars and echo sounders allow the vessels to chart waters up to 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) deep.[2] There are three sets of davits fitted to carry Fantome-class survey boats.[1] The ship is fitted with a helicopter deck for an AS 350B Squirrel helicopter (detached from 723 Squadron), although there are no long-term hosting facilities.[1] She is armed with two single 12.7 mm machine guns.[2] The ship's company consists of 10 officers and 46 sailors, plus up to 5 trainees.[1] The Leeuwin class were the first RAN ships to use a multi-crewing concept, with three complements used to operate the two vessels.[2]

Leeuwin was ordered from NQEA Australia on 2 April 1996, and built at the company's shipyard in Cairns.[1] She was laid down on 9 May 1997 and launched on 23 June 1998.[2] Leeuwin and sister ship Melville underwent a joint commissioning ceremony on 27 May 2000.[1] Leeuwin initially carried the pennant number "HS 01", but this was changed to "A 245" in 2004.[2] She is named after Cape Leeuwin, the south-west-most point of the Australian continent.

Operational history

In late 2001, Leeuwin began to operate in support of border protection operations in addition to her normal hydrographic duties.[2][3] In January 2002, Leeuwin was repainted from white to grey.[2][3]

RAN-IFR 2013 D3 185
Leeuwin underway on Sydney Harbour on 5 October 2013

In October 2013, Leeuwin participated in the International Fleet Review 2013 in Sydney.[4] The fleet was reviewed by Governor-General Quentin Bryce on 5 October from Leeuwin's helicopter deck, with Bryce accompanied by Prince Harry.[5]

Leeuwin sailed to Fiji in July 2015 for a seabed-mapping operation around Rotuma Island.[6] This was the first RAN deployment to the region in eight years, since the deterioration of ties between the nations after the 2006 Fijian coup d'état.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Saunders (ed.), Jane's Fighting Ships 2008–2009, p. 33
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Wertheim (ed.), The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World, p. 26
  3. ^ a b Bateman et al., in Rothwell & VanderZwaag (eds.), Towards principled ocean governance, p. 130
  4. ^ "Participating Warships". International Fleet Review 2013 website. Royal Australian Navy. 2013. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  5. ^ Walsh, Fiona (4 October 2013). "International Fleet Review: seven to watch for when the ships come in". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b Talebula, Kate (14 July 2015). "Australian frigate on seabed survey mission". The Fiji Times Online. Retrieved 19 July 2015.


HMAS Leeuwin

One ship and one shore base of the Royal Australian Navy have been named HMAS Leeuwin, after Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia.

HMAS Leeuwin (naval base), a naval base in Fremantle, Western Australia from 1940 to 1986, then operated by the Australian Army as Leeuwin Barracks

HMAS Leeuwin (A 245), lead ship of the Leeuwin-class hydrographic survey vessels, which entered service in 2000 and is active as of 2016

Leeuwin-class survey vessel

The Leeuwin class is a two-ship class of hydrographic survey vessels operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Leeuwin and Melville were ordered from NQEA Australia in 1996, and were commissioned in 2000. The ships are capable of charting waters up to 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) deep, carry three Fantome class survey boats, and can operate an AS 350B Squirrel helicopter. In addition to surveying duties, since 2001 both vessels have been used to supplement the RAN patrol force. Leeuwin and Melville are based at HMAS Cairns, and are active as of 2019.

List of ships of the Royal Australian Navy

Since its foundation in 1913, the Royal Australian Navy has operated a large number of vessels, including various types of warship, support and supply craft, and auxiliary vessels drawn from civilian service when required.

Royal Australian Navy


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