• The Australian staff who worked on JFD's hyperbaric system. JFD
    The Australian staff who worked on JFD's hyperbaric system. JFD

JFD has delivered submarine rescue equipment worth $19.7 million to the RAN, which means that for the first time, the entire crew of an Australian submarine can be treated simultaneously.

The new kit – a hyperbaric equipment suite and a transfer-under-pressure chamber – has been launched at a ceremony at JFD Australia’s advanced manufacturing headquarters at Bibra Lake, in the southern suburbs of Perth.

“This is a very proud moment for JFD,” Toff Idrus, general manager of JFD Australia, said.

“The innovative and world-class equipment which JFD has delivered means up to 86 people can receive life-saving medical treatment in the hyperbaric equipment suite and pressurised transfer chamber at any one time. Given a Collins-class submarine usually has a crew of 48, the increase in capability represents a significant evolution of submarine rescue services in Australia, to the point where the new system is the safest ever seen in Australia.”

The new hyperbaric equipment suite helps submariners rescued from a disabled submarine to overcome the life-threatening effects of being rescued in pressurised waters.

It is also the final step during a submarine rescue, which begins with rescuing the crew from the disabled submarine into a free-swimming rescue vehicle, carrying them to the surface and safely on to the deck of a rescue ship.

From here, the submariners are moved through the transfer-under-pressure chamber, with doctors on hand to monitor their wellbeing as they move into the hyperbaric equipment suite for further recovery.

“In the event of an underwater emergency, the ability to bring people potentially under pressure at depth to the safety of the surface with minimal risk of decompression sickness or exposure is critical for Australia’s defence capability and national security,” Idrus said.

“Our new hyperbaric equipment suite and transfer under pressure chamber will save more lives. It’s why JFD is the world’s ‘triple-0 number’ for distressed submarines.” 

This story can be found in ADM’s April edition for further reading.

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