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JFD tests new fibre-optic communications in NSRS exercise

UK-based subsea engineering, operations, and services group JFD has revealed details of the first full mobilisation of the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) in more than two years.

Exercise ‘Golden Arrow 2021', undertaken off Scotland at the end of 2021, also marked the first at-sea deployment of the new fibre-optic video and voice communications network upgrade developed and installed by JFD.

Based at HM Naval Base Clyde, the NSRS is a globally deployable submarine rescue system funded by the UK, France, and Norway, and operated under a government-owned/contractor-operated arrangement. The full system – specifically packaged for rapid deployment by air – comprises a number of components: a Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) capable of lifting up to 12 survivors from a disabled submarine (DISSUB) at 610 m and inclined at an angle of up to 60°; a portable launch and recovery system (PLARS) capable of launching and recovering the SRV in up to 5 m sea height; a Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) system consisting of two large recompression chambers and supporting equipment; an intervention system centred around an intervention remotely operated vehicle to assess and prepare the DISSUB for rescue, and to maintain survivable conditions therein; and support equipment including generators, spares, workshops, communications, tracking, and navigation.

JFD is responsible for operating and maintaining the NSRS service under a contract running until 2023. Exercise ‘Golden Arrow 2021' was the first deployment of the whole rescue spread since September 2019, the hiatus being attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Exercise ‘Golden Arrow 2021' began with the embarkation of the NSRS components – including the SRV, PLARS, and TUP systems – onboard the mother ship (MOSHIP) SD Northern River at the King George V Dock in Glasgow. Northern River

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