Phoenix International Awarded Australian DoD Contract for Submarine Rescue Services

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded Phoenix International (Australia) Pty Ltd, a contract for a Submarine Rescue Service (SRS) to include the acquisition and support of the SEA1354 Ph 1 Submarine Escape, Rescue, and Abandonment System (SERAS).

Phoenix International (Australia) Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. based Phoenix International Holdings, Inc.

The submarine rescue system is being designed and built specifically to support the capability requirements of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and will be both air and road transportable, capable of being deployed on a range of vessels. The RAN has two suitable vessels deemed appropriate as SRS Motherships (MOSHIPs); these are the MV Stoker and MV Besant.

The submarine rescue system will be accepted into operational service in 2022 and will be one of only four air transportable systems in the world. It will be based in Western Australia and support both the Collins Class submarine force and the Attack Class submarines for the next 25 plus years.

While the primary mission is to deliver a rescue capability for Australia’s submarine fleet, the system will also be capable of supporting other submarine operating nations in distress through the use of the NATO standard escape hatch.

The SRS will be delivered on a four-year acquisition schedule, and the contract includes:

+ Design and construction of a Submarine Rescue Facility (SRF) for; training of rescue personnel and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) submariners, storage of all submarine escape and rescue equipment, and mobilisation of the Phoenix Australia team and equipment in the event of a disabled submarine (DISSUB) casualty. The SRF will be constructed at the Australian Maritime Complex in Henderson, WA by Civmec.

+ Design and fabrication of a 600m capable Remotely Operated Rescue Vehicle (RORV); the design will be a joint effort amongst Phoenix Australia in Henderson, WA; Phoenix International in Largo, Maryland, USA; and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas, USA; fabrication and outfitting of the RORV will primarily take place in WA at the SRF.

+ Design and fabrication of a shallow water Submarine Rescue Bell (SRB); like the RORV the design will be a joint effort by Phoenix Australia, Phoenix International, and SwRI with outfitting of the vehicle in WA at the SRF.

+ Design and fabrication of a robust Launch and Recovery System (LARS), which will launch and recover both the RORV and SRB and will fit on a variety of ships to support a rapid response to a disabled submarine casualty; Melbourne based Thrust Maritime Pty, Ltd will design and fabricate the LARS. Thrust will also design and fabricate the Ship Interface Template System (SITS), which will permit the entire rescue and intervention complex to be installed on a wide variety of ships.

+ Design and fabrication of complete Transfer Under Pressure (TUP)/ hyperbaric suite for decompression of rescued submariners; Sydney-based HI Fraser and their subcontractor, the Italian company Drass, will design and fabricate this system in Livorno, Italy, at the HI Fraser facility in WA, and at the SRF.

+ Design and fabrication of a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) by Total Marine Technology (TMT) in Bibra Lake, WA. TMT will also apply their design expertise to the control systems for the RORV and SRB.

Phoenix Australia expects to engage the expertise of additional Australian companies, especially in WA, as the acquisition program progresses. Ian Milliner, Program Director for Phoenix Australia, said, “In excess of 80% of the acquisition phase of the contract will be carried out by Australian companies, demonstrating existing and further expanding Australia’s engineering and industrial capabilities.”

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