The U.S. Navy installed a submarine rescue diving and recompression system (SRDRS) aboard the Military Sealift Command-chartered merchant vessel HOS Dominator at Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) in Coronado.
Members of Undersea Rescue Command (URC), based at NASNI, and contractors from Phoenix Holdings International, installed the SRDRS aboard the vessel, which is the URC’s training ship.
The installation will contribute to the URC’s operational readiness and training as well as the certification of the Navy’s deep sea submarine rescue capability.
“It’s one of only a handful of mobile rescue systems in the world,” said Cmdr. Mark Hazenberg, URC’s commanding officer. “It’s able to be rapidly deployed and can assist in rescues of numerous foreign submarines in addition to our own.”
The SRDRS is the U.S. Navy’s only deep submarine rescue system and is designed to recover sailors from a disabled submarine that may be too deep for submarine escape.
The TUP capability will allow submarine sailors to move safely from a pressurized compartment aboard a disabled submarine to a recompression chamber aboard the rescue ship to begin decompression.
The SRDRS replaced the vessels Mystic and Avalon, two previous rescue submarines, as the primary deep sea rescue asset for submariners.
“The Navy currently only has a rescue capability and it’s being integrated with a TUP so that submarine sailors have a decompression obligation that they’ll be able to accommodate through a series of decompression chambers,” said Matt Walters, principal engineer for Oceaneering Technologies.
HOS Dominator is a Hornbeck Offshore-owned vessel contracted by the Navy to provide a vessel of opportunity for URC to use and operate its systems at sea for training and proficiency.