Whilst the sophisticated safety measures in modern submarines and rigorous crew training reduce the risk of a serious mishap to an extremely low level, there exists a small risk of an accident due to collision, fire, flooding, explosion of ordnance, equipment failure, etc. Hence a disabled submarine in shallow waters can attempt an individual escape through an escape trunk without outside help or alternately through an assisted escape using a Submarine Rescue Bell or Chamber lowered by a Submarine Rescue Ship.
However at deeper depths, it is preferable to rescue the surviving crew of a bottomed submarine using a submersible which attaches itself to the disabled submarine, extracting the survivors. Therefore, submarine rescue systems play an important part in morale upkeep of the crew as well as indicate the host country’s humanitarian efforts of building or acquiring a robust rescue capability to boost survivability in case of a mishap.
Globally, about 90 submarines are on order and likely to be added in the next five years taking the total to about 500 submarines. An analysis of the submarine rescue systems providers in the world reveals that basically, there are only a few power centres amounting to about 6 or 7 which can claim of providing global coverage for submarine rescue.
The US capability of deployment of the current day SRDRS is extended to about 5 countries with compatibility established for about 20 countries. Whereas, the NATO Submarine Rescue System NSRS facility which has been developed by UK, France, Norway with Italy as an observer can extend this facility to other countries of NATO including extra regional countries on invitation.
Thus the market for submarine rescue systems has tremendous scope as a majority of the countries do not have intrinsic submarine rescue capabilities. For the target countries, vast scope lies in acquisition of a capability on a graduated scale, wherein, the ability to escape individually from a Disabled Submarine DISSUB lies at the bottom most part of the scale and to be able to receive and operate the entire modern comprehensive rescue system at the top of the scale.
Private industries involved in submarine rescue globally are very limited in number and have been discussed briefly in subsequent paragraphs. Some of the companies include James Fisher Rumic, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Co., Phoenix International, and Oceaneering
James Fisher Rumic offers a wide range of services in the supply of engineering and personnel, specializing in the application of remote technology. JFR provides an integrated solution to clients including the Defense and personnel including payroll, marine travel, visa applications, and a 24 hour, 7 days a week duty call out service. Its main area of expertise lies in supply and operation of ROVs and Deck Equipment.
Scope of the Report
The scope of this report is to carry out an analysis of the availability of Submarine Rescue Ships/ Vessels systems for submarines in distress, and examine the development and application on countries operating submarines or other specialized craft in the next five years from 2017 to 2022.
The entire spectrum of all submarine operating countries has been examined, the capabilities of Submarine Rescue Providers globally have been studied and potential client navies who are likely to opt for the submarine rescue facility have been researched.
Emphasis in this report has been given to ‘Rescue’ which by definition means assisted recovery, wherein, rescue is conducted by a Submarine Rescue Vessel and not on ‘Escape’ where the crew is expected to individually escape from a disabled submarine.
Escape Systems which primarily deal with intrinsic capabilities provided within the disabled submarine itself in the form of breathing apparatus and hydro-suits to enable the crew to escape from the disabled submarine lying at a reasonable depth beneath the surface of the sea have not been discussed in detail.
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