Rolls-Royce has been awarded £47 million by the UK Ministry of Defence, acting on behalf of partner nations France and Norway, to provide and operate a specialist, unmanned craft capable of rescuing submarine crews.
The NATO Submarine Rescue System will enter service at the end of 2006, replacing the current UK rescue vehicle, LR5, which was dispatched to the scene of the last major accident, involving the Russian submarine Kursk in the Barents Sea.
Rolls-Royce will provide a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), an unmanned craft which will locate the submarine within 56 hours to check for signs of life by tapping on the hull and underwater telephone contact. ROV will also take air quality measurements, provide emergency supplies to survivors, and prepare the submarine for the rescue stage by removing debris.
The company will also deliver a three-man operated Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) which will, within 72 hours, dive up to 600 metres below the sea to rescue up to 150 survivors in groups of up to 15 at a time.
The contract covers ten years of design, build and operational support for the system, which will be based at Her Majesty’s Naval Base, Clyde, Scotland.
The new rescue system will primarily support its partner nations, but will also be on standby to assist any nation anywhere in the world.