25 Juni 2009

Knowledge Sharing Key to Boosting Regional Submarine Rescue Capabilities

24 Juni 2009

The DSAR 6 being launched from MV Swift Rescue. Together, the two vessels form the RSN's submarine rescue capability. (photo : Mindef)

Realising a swift and effective submarine rescue capability in the Asia-Pacific region requires cooperation and knowledge sharing among navies.

That was the message Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Chew Men Leong delivered to the participants of the 9th Asia Pacific Submarine Conference (APSC). Held from 22 to 24 Jun, the annual event is hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) this year.

"Given the expansive waters of the Asia-Pacific, which will make the race against time to mobilise rescue resources and bringing them to bear at the distressed submarine location all the more challenging... it is essential to build and maintain a strong network for submarine rescue collaboration among navies," said RADM Chew during his keynote address on 22 Jun.

"APSC is important for the interdependence of all the navies. Any submarine rescue is going to involve more than one nation, no matter which submarine goes down. So we form connections here (at APSC) and get to meet all the key players from the various countries from around the region," echoed Commander (CDR) Jay Spencer, Commanding Officer Deep Submergence Unit from the United States Navy (USN).

Attending APSC were over 50 personnel from 16 navies, as well as staff from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Headquarters (NATO HQ). NATO HQ is invited to the annual APSC sessions because it is directly involved in submarine rescue operations in the region.

Inaugurated by the USN in 2001, the APSC develops and fosters regional cooperation among the submarine-operating navies in the Asia-Pacific. Singapore is hosting the event for the first time and it is only the fourth country after Australia, Japan and the US, to do so.

DSAR 6 : deep search and rescue (photo : Mindef)

As part of this year's APSC programme, participants visited MV Swift Rescue and Deep Search and Rescue Six (DSAR 6) at Changi Naval Base on 23 Jun.

MV Swift Rescue is the ship that carries the equipment to launch DSAR 6 - the submersible rescue vessel that will link up with distressed submarines to evacuate trapped submariners.

The DSAR 6 is capable of reaching a top speed of three knots (5.5 km/h) underwater and is able to reach depths of up to 500 metres. MV Swift Rescue is able to reach a top speed of 12.5 (23.15 km/h) knots with a maximum range of 3,000 nautical miles (5556 km). Together, the two vessels form the RSN's submarine rescue capability.

Speaking on the new submarine rescue capability of the RSN, CDR Spencer told cyberpioneer: "We are very impressed with what the RSN has done with this system."

"The RSN has put a lot of thought into integrating DSAR 6 with MV Swift Rescue," he said.

MV Swift Rescue and DSAR 6 was designed as an integrated rescue platform. Upon rescue, submariners will be able to receive treatment immediately for any injuries sustained when they were trapped in the submarines.

MV Swift Rescue was launched on 29 Nov 2008, with DSAR 6 delivered early this year. They are now both fully operational.


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