HMAS OVENS (S70)
Class: Oberon Submarine
Length: 295 feet, 5 inches
In response to the expansion of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, the Oberon class submarines were acquired by Australia in the middle years of the cold war. These very capable submarines watched, listened and collected information without being seen. Using stealth, endurance and agility, they undertook many activities including secret patrols, photographic reconnaissance, surveillance, shadowing, and intelligence gathering.
During her Cold War career HMAS Ovens steamed more than 420,000 nautical miles on the surface and submerged. She took part in many international naval exercises, and represented Australia on goodwill visits around the world. Her secret work was tracking Soviet submarines moving into the Arabian Gulf from Vladivostok via the Coral Sea and Great Australian Bight. With HMAS Onslow, Ovens kept an eye on them, undertaking close-in intelligence collection patrols.
In 1986 she had the distinction of being the second conventional submarine in the world to fire a Harpoon anti-ship missile. This occurred off the island of Kauai in Hawaii in 1985, where the target was successfully hit from over the horizon.
A world class facility has been built on the waterfront at Fremantle overlooking the area where during WW II the Allied submarines were stationed.
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