JFD, part of James Fisher and Sons plc, has delivered brand new AUS $19.7 million submarine rescue equipment to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) which means that for the first time, the entire crew of an Australian submarine can be rescued and treated simultaneously.
The new kit – a hyperbaric equipment suite and a transfer under pressure chamber – has been launched at a ceremony at JFD Australia’s advanced manufacturing headquarters at Bibra Lake, in the southern suburbs of Perth.
JFD is contracted to provide submarine escape and rescue services for the Royal Australian Navy under the James Fisher Submarine Rescue Service (JFSRS) brand.
“This is a very proud moment for JFD” said the General Manager of JFD Australia, Toff Idrus (himself, a former submariner).
“The innovative and world-class equipment which JFD has delivered means up to 86 people can receive life-saving medical treatment in the hyperbaric equipment suite and pressurised transfer chamber at any one time. Given a Collins-class submarine usually has a crew of 48, the increase in capability represents a significant evolution of submarine rescue services in Australia, to the point where the new system is the safest ever seen in Australia.”
The new hyperbaric equipment suite helps submariners rescued from a disabled submarine to overcome the life-threatening effects of being rescued in pressurised waters. It is also the final step during a submarine rescue which begins with rescuing the crew from the disabled submarine into a JFD free-swimming rescue vehicle, carrying them to the surface and safely on to the deck of a rescue ship.
From here, the submariners are moved through the transfer under pressure chamber, with doctors on hand to monitor their wellbeing as they move into the hyperbaric equipment suite for further recovery.
“In the event of an underwater emergency, the ability to bring people potentially under pressure at depth to the safety of the surface with minimal risk of decompression sickness or exposure is critical for Australia’s defence capability and national security,” said Mr. Idrus. “We know that lives depend on our expertise and that’s why JFD is constantly evolving our submarine escape and rescue service to help ensure the men and women of the Australian Defence Force are kept as safe as possible, even in worst-case scenarios.”
The new equipment took two years to build using a highly skilled workforce of some 100 engineers and tradespeople within JFD, the world’s leading provider of submarine rescue services. JFD Australia’s team – together with local supply-chain companies – are now conducting systems integration for the new equipment.
“JFD Australia has developed world-leading local knowledge and skills in submarine rescue which are so important when you are dealing with a challenging ocean environment, confirming our reputation as a provider of proven, safe and reliable submarine rescue service to the Australian Government,” said Mr. Idrus. “Quite simply, our new hyperbaric equipment suite and transfer under pressure chamber will save more lives.
“It’s why JFD is the world’s ‘triple-0 number’ for distressed submarines.”
The delivery of the new suite and chamber could result in JFD Australia creating more defence industry jobs as it opens up opportunities to export similar equipment to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.