NAVSEA Approves U.S. Navy’s Only Saturation Fly Away Diving System for Sustained Operations

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) approved the U.S. Navy’s only Saturation Fly Away Diving System (SATFADS) for sustained operations after completing a 30-foot wet certification of the launch and recovery system in Panama City, Fla, on Sept. 26.

“This effort is a culmination of more than two years of hard work and collaboration within NAVSEA. It allows our divers to train in a real-world environment that would not have happened if not for the detachment’s technical proficiency,” said Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU), Saturation Detachment, Master Diver Bill Dodd.

NEDU’s mission is to partner with the warfighter to develop timely, cost-effective solutions to support and/or improve manned operations in undersea and other extreme environments through research, development, test, and evaluation of diving, hyperbaric, life support, submersible systems, and procedures.

Saturation Fly-Away Diving System (SATFADS)

The Saturation Fly Away Diving System (SAT FADS) provides the U.S. Navy with the capability to rapidly deploy a Navy certified saturation diving system anywhere in the world.

The SATFADS airmobile system can enable worldwide deepwater sustained diving operations to depths of 1,000 ft seawater (FSW) supporting 6 saturation divers for a period of 21 days, with an additional 9 days of decompression.

The system is designed to be deployed using military aircraft and commercial over the road tractor-trailers and can be installed on any suitable commercial vessel of opportunity. Built to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), U.S. Navy, det Norske VERITAS (DNV) and ASME standards, SAT FADS system requires only 40 feet x 70 feet of deck space.

The system is composed of five major components:

+ Main Deck Decompression Chamber (which includes living quarters and airlock)
+ 3-Man Diving Bell
+ Bell Handling System
+ Bullet Control Van
+ (2) Auxiliary Support Equipment Vans

In September 2003, the U.S. Navy Director of Ocean Engineering, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV), SEA 00C, contracted Phoenix International Holdings, Inc. to design and build the SAT FADS.

SAT FADS completed the fabrication phase of the acquisition lifecycle in June 2010 and was subsequently relocated to Navy Experimental Dive Unit (NEDU) in Panama City, Florida where it has been reassembled for Manned Testing and certification. SAT FADS successfully completed its first manned dive on September 30, 2010.

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