On September 30, 2008 the Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM) FALCON replaced the last Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV), MYSTIC. As the replacement for the DSRV, FALCON improves the U.S. Navy's capability to safely conduct submarine rescue missions world-wide. The FALCON is part of a 'flyaway' system that provides a global rapid response capability to support both U.S. Navy and international submarine rescue.
The U.S. Navy's first deployment of FALCON in May 2008 was heralded a complete success. As part of the international submarine rescue exercise Bold Monarch conducted off the coast of Norway, the FALCON mated with submarines from the Netherlands, Poland and Norway. During this exercise FALCON performed 13 manned dives and mating evolutions, achieving more than 50 hours of closed hatch operations, and rescuing more than 200 'survivors' from disabled submarines (DISSUB).
The full-up Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS), which FALCON is a part of, will provide the ability to rescue trapped submariners from a pressurized DISSUB while maintaining the same pressure as the DISSUB interior until transfer to the Surface Decompression System (SDS) has been completed. The SDS is in acquisition and is expected to deliver in 2013. This final phase provides surface-ship based decompression chambers and transfer locks able to safely decompress the rescuees that are transferred from the pressurized DISSUB by the PRM.
The Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System (SRDRS) will replace the Deep Submergence Rescue System which includes the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV). The new system will operate from vessels of opportunity (VOO). It will be a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) based system. Video from recent contractor trials.
Figure 1: The pressurized rescue Module being lowered into the water for initial pier side testing in Vancouver, Canada.
Figure 2: The pressurized rescue Module undergoing initial stability and buoyancy testing in Vancouver, Canada.
Figure 3: The Launch and recovery system for the Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS) loaded on a Vessel of Opportunity (Train barge) for testing in Vancouver Canada.
Figure 4: The rescue vehicle for the SRDRS is called the Pressurized rescue module and is shown above mated to a simulated submarine.
Figure 5: The SRDRS when installed on a vessel of opportunity brings with it own power and auxiliary systems making it virtually independent of the vessel except that it is mounted.
The PRM may have been named after the Submarine Rescue Ship USS FALCON (ASR-2) that was on site for the first deep submarine rescue on May, 23 1939, but the Submarine Rescue Chamber (SRC) was the system that actually made 4 trips to the DISSUB in 13 hours rescuing 33 survivors from the USS SQUALUS. Today it remains a simple yet very capable rescue system.
Rescue Chambers are also operated by numerous countries worldwide. The USN SRC is a fully air transportable system that can be quickly deployed on a Vessel of Opportunity (VOO) with minimal modifications to use the system.
Figure 6,7: Submarine Rescue Chamber
The Atmospheric Diving Suit 2000 (ADS2000) was developed jointly with OceanWorks International Corp. and the U.S. Navy to meet U.S. Navy requirements. The ADS2000 provides increased depth capability for the U.S. Navy's Submarine Rescue Program, capable of operating in up to 2,000?feet of seawater (fsw) for a normal mission of up to six hours.
In 2006 ADS2000 was certified by the US Navy. The U.S. Navy currently has four ADS2000 Suits and three self erecting Launch and Recovery Systems. The system is designed to fly away to a rescue site on various military and commercial aircrafts. As the first segment of the SRDRS, the ADS's primary mission is submarine rescue intervention. It is used to survey the DISSUB, clear any debris from the submarine rescue mating seat and deliver Emergency Life Support Stores (ELSS).
These suits have been effective in various joint operations with the SRC and other navies such as the French Navy, the Singaporean Navy and the Royal Australian Navy during exercises like SORBET ROYAL and SAFEGUARD. In 2009 an ADS2000 completed its first ever joint operation with the SRDRS at DEEP SEAT after laying the 2,000 fsw moor and validating that DEEP SEAT was ready to support mating with FALCON.
Figure 8: Atmospheric Diving suite
The two Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicles (DSRVs), AVALON and MYSTIC are now decommissioned but do not forget their 40 years of active service and readiness for submarine rescue.
Figure 9: Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle
Figure 10: Avalon - now inactivated. It is the sister of the Mystic which was inactivated on the PRM Falcon activation, september 30th 2008. It was built in the early seventies.
|Capacity||28 (4 of those are crew)|
Three TV cameras
Manipulator with a cable cutter
|Dimensions||12.4 x 3.2 x 4.3m|
- Capable of mating to a submarine collapse depth
- System designed for rescue up to 5 atmospheres
- TUP is possible only to the forward compartment of a UK MOSUB to a maximum pressure of 1.7Bar absolute.
|Location||System maintained at Deep Submergence Unit, NAS North Island, CA|
|Transport||Air: AN-124 or C-5A/B|
|MOSHIPS||Can operate from MOSUB (US - 6 SSNs, UK - 3 SSBNs, FRANCE - 1 SSBNs) or specially configured surface ship (Two US MOSHIP)|