Australian Submarine Force Tests Escape and Rescue Capabilities

Australian Submarine Force Tests Escape and Rescue Capabilities

The Royal Australian Navy’s Submarine Force and industry partners have demonstrated how they would respond in the unlikely event of a submarine incident at sea, after completing an intensive two week training exercise focused on testing its Submarine Escape and Rescue capability.

During Exercise Black Carillion, members of the Navy’s Submarine Force, the Defence Material Organisation, Defence Maritime Services and James Fisher Defence have rehearsed how they would respond if required to evacuate personnel from a submarine on the sea bed. This was done by conducting submersible operations in the depths of the Indian Ocean utilising the James Fisher Submarine Rescue Service JFSRS) LR5 Submarine Rescue Vehicle.

The submersible conducted multiple manned dives from the mothership, MV Seahorse Standard, mating with dedicated target plates on the ocean floor. Once recovered on the deck of Seahorse Standard, passengers were transferred into recompression chambers without being exposed to the outside air pressure.

Inside the Type B recompression chambers, the Navy’s underwater medical specialists monitored the evacuees and simulated practicing life-saving medical techniques aimed at preventing and responding to decompression sickness.

Commander Submarine Force, Captain Mark Potter, described the exercise as a success.

“We were able to test three very important key capabilities which would be crucial to saving lives in the unlikely event that we ever experienced a submarine incident requiring the evacuation of submariners.’

Firstly, proficiency working with James Fisher Submarine Rescue System and the LR5 submersible, secondly that we can effectively utilise both the Type B recompression chambers and finally to ensure our established underwater medical procedures are satisfactory to treat and prevent casualties.’

“These capabilities are vital to the confidence of any submarine force,” said Captain Potter.


Naval Today Staff , May 16, 2012; Image: Royal Australian Navy