The 2018 exercise demonstrated the world-class capability of the fully-integrated system that JFD provides to the Australian government, which includes a submarine rescue vehicle (a mini submarine with pilot and crew), a transfer-under-pressure chamber and a hyperbaric equipment suite to ensure that submariners receive the best possible medical treatment once they are back on the water’s surface.
A major element this year was a continuous ‘rescue exercise’ to test the complete system from the submarine rescue vehicle through to the transfer-under-pressure chamber where any initial triage of rescued submariners could be undertaken before moving to the new hyperbaric equipment suite.
Former submariner turned JFD Australia managing director, Toff Idrus, said, "It is vital that our submarine rescue system can rescue and treat all personnel on board a Collins-class submarine and that is why these annual exercises involving the RAN, JFD’s 100- strong skilled workforce and our extensive supply chain are so critical."
Submarine rescue in a real emergency requires around the clock manning of the entire system and JFD worked seamlessly with the RAN medical team to achieve all excellent results.
Sheltered practices were successfully carried out in 20 metres of water (a key capability that is not available from other global submarine rescue providers), before moving on to mock rescues at depths of 135 metres, with the remotely operated vehicle also diving in excess of 375 metres to simulate an inspection of a disabled submarine.
Captain Geoff Wadley, Commander Submarine Force said, "I was exceptionally impressed with what you achieved in the exercise and it was clearly evident that you had developed a strong sense of teamwork."
This year, using HMAS Sheean as the 'target' submarine and together with rescue and intervention ships, MV Stoker and MV Besant, JFD was able to conduct a series of simulated rescues in varying depths of water to demonstrate the flexibility and unrivalled range of its submarine rescue system.
"Speaking to international observers, they were unanimous in their praise for the exercise and the value they all got out of it, a job exceptionally well done," CAPT Wadley added.
JFD is an underwater capability provider, serving the commercial and defence markets with innovative diving, submarine and hyperbaric rescue, technical solutions and services.
The company is at the forefront of hyperbaric rescue, along with being the leading supplier of commercial and defence diving equipment and saturation diving systems to the commercial industry.
JFD was created in 2014 through the merger of James Fisher Defence and Divex. In 2015, JFD acquired the National Hyperbaric Centre to further boost the services it offers. In 2016, LEXMAR was acquired to enhance the capability and offering within JFD’s diving capability and suite of saturation diving systems. JFD acquired diving and recompression specialist Cowan Manufacturing in February 2018.