Submarine Rescue Exercise Pacific Reach Concludes in Australia

The 10th triennial exercise Pacific Reach (PACREACH) concluded in Western Australia with a closing ceremony at Fleet Base West, Nov. 15.

Exercise Pacific Reach aims to ensure interoperability between the international submarine rescue community sponsored by the Asian Pacific Submarine Conference (APSC). The exercise objectives included the ability to demonstrate regional submarine abandonment and escape rescue (SAER) capabilities through simulated submarine rescue missions utilizing various partner nations submarines, submarine rescue equipment, and platforms.

The principal PACREACH participants included the United States, Republic of Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, and Singapore. However, 12 additional countries took part in the exercise as observers of submarine rescue operations.

Three rescue systems – the U.S. Navy Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM), the Royal Australian Navy LR5 submarine rescue vessel, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) deep-submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) – participated in the exercise.

In total, these three systems executed 31 manned dives. Additionally, nine open hatch mates and personnel transfers were completed with Royal Australian Navy Collins-class submarine HMAS Sheean (SSG 77) and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) diesel-electric attack submarine ROKS Lee Sunsin (SSK-068).

The highlight of the exercise took place at sea on Nov. 13 when the Australians and U.S. simultaneously operated rescue systems, completing five open hatch mates to HMAS Sheean (SSG 77) in a 13-hour period, while operating within 300 meters of each other.

During the exercise, the participating nations completed over 70 hours of combined diving time.



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