JFD successfully completes comprehensive NATO Golden Arrow submarine rescue exercise

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JFD, the world leading underwater capability provider serving the commercial and defence diving markets, and part of James Fisher and Sons plc, has successfully completed a comprehensive submarine rescue exercise to mobilise the entire NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS).

The exercise, titled Golden Arrow, provided vital hands-on training that further optimises the crew’s ability to conduct safe and effective rescue operations, ensuring the capability remains ready to seamlessly respond to an incident anywhere in the world.

The Golden Arrow exercise involved the full mobilisation and demobilisation of the NSRS rescue system from Glasgow’s King George V Dock, as well as operational training including the safe launch and recovery of the submarine rescue vehicle (SRV), laying the mating target, and conducting mating and hyperbaric operations.

During the exercise, JFD also took the opportunity to formally demonstrate to the participant nations the ability to launch and recover NSRS’s submarine rescue vehicle without the use of a support boat, or deploying swimmers. The diverless launch and recovery system – known as “DLARS” – is a feature of several of JFD’s submarine rescue systems, and is key to being able to operate confidently and safely in higher sea states.

Cdr Chris Coles – NSRS Project Manager (on behalf of the NSRS Authority), commented:
“The French, Norwegian and UK NSRS Authority were very happy with the conduct of Exercise Golden Arrow as a demonstration of system capability. It is important to regularly reassure ourselves that our rescue system is both safe to operate and being operated safely. The demonstration of DLARS was a great milestone and improves confidence of our ability to work in higher sea states.”

Richard Devlin, head of operations – EMEA region, global submarine escape and rescue, JFD, commented:
“The Golden Arrow exercise provided JFD with the opportunity to once again demonstrate the world-class capability of NSRS. Our highly trained operational team worked around the clock to ensure the exercise was completed safely and efficiently, instilling further confidence for the participating nations of France, Norway and the UK such that, in the event of an emergency, the NSRS can mobilise quickly and effectively.”

Upon completion of the exercise, the mothership (MOSHIP) transited back to the disembarkation point at King George V Dock, from where the equipment was returned to HMNB Clyde where it remains primed and ready to respond instantaneously.

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. To date, JFD has undertaken eight successful rescue exercises 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 exercise also offered the chance to demonstrate multi-national submarine rescue co-operation and provides a platform for sharing knowledge amongst participating nations.

Devlin, continued:
“Fast and effective mobilisation of submarine rescue systems is a vital component of successful rescue operations, and having the ability to quickly reach a DISSUB anywhere in the world whilst maintaining optimum operational capability is critical to protecting human life at sea.

“Exercise Golden Arrow was once again a demonstration of 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.”