Russia: BSF Returns from Bold Monarch 2011


The Bold Monarch 2011 joint submarine rescue exercise finished on June 10 off Spain.

Russia was represented by Black Sea Fleet (BSF) assets – rescue ship Epron, salvage tug Shakhter, mooring lighter KIL-158, and diesel submarine Alrosa.

Throughout ten days the joint force practiced search-and-rescue operations using the most up-to-date salvage equipment.

KIL-158 planted anchorage facilities for stable hovering of rescue ship Epron over “distressed” submarine. Then the mooring lighter dropped remotely controlled deep-water submersible Panther Plus. Operators successfully brought the rope in the sub’s coaming platform.

The crew of Epron for the first time carried out several salvage drills with foreign submarines lying on the seabed. Russian rescuers 4 times practically connected rescue bell to submarines Galerna (Spain) and Tridente (Portugal), took “suffered” submariners into rescue compartment and successfully surfaced. To provide safe operations, post-search works, and wrecked submarine examination, Russian servicemen used unmanned submersible Tiger and normobaric armors capable to dive over 350 meters.

BSF submariners have acquired skills of working with foreign rescue facilities. SSK Alrosa conducted submarine ventilation drills with French rescue ship Pourquoi Pas? The Russian sub was connected to rescue bell of Italian vessel Anteo three times.

During the exercise, Alrosa hosted Gen. Nikolai Makarov, Chief of Russian General Staff and NATO officers. They docked to the bottomed sub in the NSRS manned submersible launched by Norwegian rescue ship Sandefjord.

American rescuers performed the same operation with the Russian sub. US rescue vessel Shooting Star lowered SRDRS (Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System) with reporters to Alrosa.

Experts of Russian Defense Research Institute observed the exercise from Spanish tank landing ship Galicia. They had a chance to visit almost all participating ships and familiarize with various rescue equipment. Rescue works on foreign subs were carried out by Russian Navy’s special-purpose diving unit. Totally, Russian divers performed about 60 submersions and spent over 50 hours underwater during the exercise.

The Russian submarine and rescue ships directly participated in 10 episodes; Russian experts acted as observers as well.

Summarizing the Bold Monarch 2011 exercise, the head of Russian unit – BSF Search and Rescue Service director Capt 1 rank Damir Shaikhutdinov – pointed out that all tasks of the exercise had been completed. “The main achievement of Russian rescuers and our foreign colleagues is that we have mutual understanding in submarine rescue issues. We have practically proved that Russian and foreign systems used for salvage of distressed submariners effectively match each other. This opens great prospects for cooperation. The exercise has indicated that all needed rescue operations can be planned and carried out with account for technical capabilities of our partners“, emphasized the officer.

All participating ships called at Cartagena to conduct a closing conference on board Spanish ship Galicia. Final results of the Bold Monarch 2011 exercise will be summed up in Sept in Poland which is to host the next international rescue exercise.
Source: Rusnavy, June 15, 2011;