Air Sense

Air/Sea Search and Rescue Vessel
Air-Sea Rescue Launch
Harbor Boat Building Co, USA
1 March 1945
21 October 1946
Transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1949
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 24 tons
Length 63
Beam 15 ft (4.57m)
Draught 3 ft 4 in (1.01m)
Speed Up to 28 knots
Crew 7-8 including 2 RAAF telegraphists
Machinery Twin Hall-Scott petrol engines
Horsepower 1,200 bhp
Guns 2 x twin Lewis guns

HMAS Air Sense was one of 21 air/sea rescue 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 Sense was commissioned on 1 March 1945 in Sydney under the command of Sub Lieutenant John Young, RANR, and officially listed as a tender to HMAS Magnetic, and later to HMAS Carpentaria. Her first few weeks in commission were spent at Garden Island in Sydney preparing for sea and conducting trials. On 24 March, in company with HMAS Air Speed, she acted as an escort for their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester on the occasion of the opening of the Captain Cook Graving Dock.

She departed Sydney on 4 May in company with HMAS Air Spray bound for Townsville where they arrived on 16 May. Air Sense immediately began ASR duties and on 19 May proceeded to Bowling Green Bay to recover two airmen who had made a forced landing on the beach. Both Air Sense and Air Spray proceeded to Thursday Island in June for slipping and maintenance. They remained in the area for the rest of the year conducting ASR duties between Thursday Island and the RAAF airstrip, Higgins Field, at Red Island Point south of Bamaga, Queensland.

Air Sense departed Thursday Island for Cooktown on 22 January 1946 and operated between Cooktown and Cairns for the next three months. On 28 April she commenced her final passage as a RAN vessel, departing Cairns for Brisbane where she arrived on 5 May. She decommissioned at Brisbane on 21 October 1946 and was transferred to the RAAF in 1949.

A general arrangement plan of the Air class search & rescue vessels
A general arrangement plan of the Air Class search & rescue vessels