US Navy recertifies Saturation Fly Away Diving System

The US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has approved the navy’s only Saturation Fly Away Diving System (SATFADS) for sustained operations after completing a 30 foot wet certification of the launch and recovery system in Panama City, Fla.

Illustration: A US Navy diver watches as a winch hoists a manned dive bell from a depth of more than 600 feet during training in 2012.

Designed to be deployed using military aircraft and commercial over the road tractor trailers, SATFADS is capable of providing a mobile and worldwide capability for deep water sustained diving operations.

The system can support six saturation divers for a period of 21 days, with an additional nine days of decompression.

“This effort is a culmination of more than two years of hard work and collaboration within NAVSEA. It allows our divers to train in a real-world environment that would not have happened if not for the detachment’s technical proficiency,” said Navy Experimental Diving Unit (NEDU), Saturation Detachment, Master Diver Bill Dodd.

The SATFADS acquisition program was initiated by the Director of Ocean Engineering, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, SEA 00C, in September 2003 at the request of the Submarine Warfare Division (N87), initiated by the Assessment Division (N81), and was approved by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).

SATFADS is required to retain an organic saturation diving capability to support the full range of Navy salvage and recovery operations ranging from crisis response from emergent casualties, as well as, planned response in and around the world’s littorals and continental shelves.

Offering a worldwide capability for deep water sustained diving operations to depths of 1,000 FSW, SATFADS can also be installed on any suitable commercial vessel of opportunity.