US Navy, CS Simpson (SS 21) hone submarine rescue skills during CHILEMAR

US Navy personnel from the Undersea Rescue Command joined the Chilean Navy diesel-electric submarine CS Simpson (SS 21) for submarine rescue drills as part of exercise CHILEMAR VIII.

Sailors on board CS Simpson (SS 21) look up into the pressurized rescue module (PRM) after it mated with Simpson on the ocean floor during the submarine rescue exercise CHILEMAR VIII. Photo: US Navy

US Navy sailors searched for the Chilean submarine using the Sibitzky remotely operated vehicle and conducted a personnel transfer on the ocean floor utilizing URC’s pressurized rescue module.

As part of the exercise, the pressurized rescue module mated with Simpson on the ocean floor. After the module’s transfer skirt was dewatered, Captain Chris Cavanaugh, Commander, Submarine Squadron 11, and CS Simpson’s commander Cmdr. Federico Karl Saelzer Concha, among others, climbed from the hatch of the submarine up to the pressurized rescue module.

The transfer skirt hatch of the pressurized rescue module (PRM) of Undersea Rescue Command (URC) opens after mating with CS Simpson (SS 21). Photo: US Navy


CHILEMAR VIII is a bilateral exercise designed to demonstrate interoperability between the US submarine rescue systems and Chilean submarines.

The exercise is part of a wider Diesel-Electric Submarine Initiative (DESI) program under which Commander, Submarine Squadron 11 (CSS-11), is hosting CS Simpson and its crew in San Diego for a period of three months.

DESI was established by US Fleet Forces Command in 2001 with the aim of enhancing the US Navy’s capability to operate with diesel-electric submarines by partnering with South American navies.

“Each year, Submarine Squadron 11 has the privilege of hosting a South American submarine in our local waters,” said Lt. Alexander Papadakos, the CSS-11 liaison officer for Simpson. “During these visits, we are able to simulate a variety of wartime scenarios against diesel submarines which adds an additional degree of difficulty and reality to fleet ASW, as diesel submarines have proven to be quiet and elusive.”

CS Simpson arrived at Naval Base Point Loma on June 26.