The Royal Australian Navy is one step closer to operating their new hyperbaric equipment after the system achieved acceptance and global certification from Lloyds Register.
The system, a transfer under pressure chamber and recompression treatment suite worth AU$19.7 million, can treat the whole crew of an Australian submarine at once, according to JFD – the system manufacturer.
The equipment was delivered as part of an existing escape and rescue contract at its manufacturing headquarters at Bibra Lake, south of Perth.
“Achieving acceptance and global certification from Lloyds Register is a very rigorous and demanding procedure,” said general manager JFD Australia, Toff Idrus. “And what it means for submariners is extremely significant as up to 88 people can now receive life-saving medical treatment in the hyperbaric equipment suite and pressurized transfer chamber at any one time.”
“When you consider that a Collins-class submarine has a crew of 48 – 60, this new capability is very significant and represents an important milestone for submarine rescue in Australia.”
The hyperbaric equipment suite is able to withstand and operate effectively in rough, continuous seas with swells of 5 meters.
The new kit is the final step in a submarine rescue which begins with rescuing the crew from a disabled submarine and transferring them safely into a JFD free-swimming, piloted rescue vehicle which carries them safely to the surface and on to the deck of a rescue ship.
From here, the submariners are moved through the transfer under pressure chamber and into the hyperbaric equipment suite with doctors monitoring their wellbeing and helping them overcome any life-threatening effects that come from being rescued from pressurised waters.
The new equipment took two years to build and will now undergo further naval testing and evaluation in August, culminating in the annual Black Carillion naval exercises in November 2018.