The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Australian government have granted an operational licence for a new AUD19.7 million (USD14.7 million) submarine rescue system developed by JFD, the Australian subsidiary of the UK-based company announced in a 3 July statement.
The move means that for the first time the whole crew of an Australian submarine can be treated at once using the new hyperbaric equipment, Toff Idrus, general manager of JFD Australia, was quoted as saying in the statement.
“What it means for submariners is extremely significant as up to 88 people can now receive life-saving medical treatment in the hyperbaric equipment suite and pressurised transfer chamber at any one time.
“When you consider that a Collins-class submarine has a crew of 48–60, this new capability is very significant and represents an important milestone for submarine rescue in Australia,” said Idrus.
The equipment, which consists of a transfer-under-pressure chamber and a recompression treatment suite, is able to withstand and operate effectively in rough, continuous seas with swells of 5 m, according to JFD.
The system, which took two years to build, will undergo further naval testing and evaluation in August, culminating in the annual ‘Black Carillion’ naval exercises set to be held in November 2018, added the company.
As Jane’s reported in April, JFD is contracted to provide submarine escape-and-rescue services for the RAN under the James Fisher Submarine Rescue Service (JFSRS) brand.
For its Australian JFSRS, JFD utilises the 21.5-tonne LR5 free-swimming submarine rescue vehicle (SRV), which is designed to mate with a distressed submarine in the event of an emergency, and transfer the rescued personnel onto the deck of its host ship.
The rescued submariners are then moved through the transfer-under-pressure chamber and into the hyperbaric equipment suite, with doctors monitoring their wellbeing and helping them overcome any life-threatening effects that come from being rescued from pressurised waters.
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