JFD, the world leading underwater capability provider serving the commercial and defence diving markets, and part of James Fisher and Sons plc, successfully completed a comprehensive submarine rescue exercise to mobilise the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS). The exercise, titled Golden Arrow, was the first deployment of the whole rescue spread since September 2019 and the first sea deployment of the new fibre optic video and voice communications network upgrade developed and installed by JFD.
Golden Arrow took place following embarkation at King George V docks in Glasgow and operating within the waters off the west coast of Scotland vessel SD Northern River. The full Rescue system was deployed including the Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV), Portable Launch and Recovery System (PLARS) and Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) systems.
This was the first sea deployment of the new fibre optic communications system developed by JFD. The system provides video communications between the MOSHIP Submarine Rescue Vehicle and the DISSUB. Golden Arrow successfully demonstrated the capability of the system between the vessel and the SRV providing clear video and voice communications between the MOSHIP and the SRV with the capability for communications down to 610m. This innovation allows submarine safety communications and the ability to pass vital information during rescue scenario clearly, giving the Rescue Element Commander, Medical Officer and Dive Supervisor eyes on interaction with Disabled Submarine (DISSUB) survivors.
Cdr Chris Baldwin, NSRS Operations Officer at the Submarine Delivery Agency:
“Exercise GOLDEN ARROW 2021 enabled the NSRS team to return to its programme of rescue exercises after the interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participation in such exercises ensures the teams operating the capability have practiced procedures and can operate effectively in the event of an operational submarine rescue situation anywhere in the world. The NSRS Operations Group, comprised of French, Norwegian and British naval and JFD contractor personnel, successfully completed the exercise objectives demonstrating the unique benefits of this Government owned Contractor operated capability”.
Richard Dellar, JFD Managing Director, commented:
“Not only was Golden Arrow yet another successful NSRS exercise executed by the JFD team during challenging circumstances presented by COVID, it also provided the first opportunity to deploy at sea the new fibre optic communications system. This system provides a step change in capability for NSRS, which is now the only rescue system in the world with a continuous fibre optic link back from the SRV to the MOSHIP.
Exercise Golden Arrow once again demonstrated JFD’s ability to safely plan, manage and execute a complex large scale at sea deployment to the satisfaction of our customers in France, Norway and the UK.”
In addition, the exercise provided the opportunity to prove the competence of the JFD personnel who are responsible for providing 24/7 rescue readiness of the NSRS, giving peace of mind for the UK, French and Norwegian Navies and the wider global submarine community.
Regular submarine intervention and rescue exercises are essential for ensuring equipment and personnel are able to respond effectively in the event of a submarine accident, and in as little time as possible. This becomes the ninth successful vessel based rescue exercise for JFD throughout the course of operating NSRS, reinforcing its responsibility in assuring the operations team is fully trained in all aspects of a safe rescue.
The initial five-year contract for the provision of the NSRS by the MOD was extended to 2023, demonstrating the customer’s confidence in JFD’s ability to operate and maintain the system, which encompasses all aspects of NSRS operations and through-life-support. As part of this agreement, JFD continues to work with the authority to develop the system ensuring the highest safety standards are always achieved.