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September 12, 2023

Indonesian Government Buys UK-Built Submarine Rescue System

Source: SMP

Source: SMP

UK-based Submarine Manufacturing and Products (SMP) will provide its new submarine rescue system (SRS) to the Indonesian Navy.

The SRS will be hosted on a mothership designed by independent design and engineering consultancy Houlder and delivered by its Indonesian strategic partner, BTI Defence.

The three-year build contract will include the UK design and manufacture of the SRS, centered around SMP's new SRV-F Mk3 rescue submersible

The custom build of the mothership will take place in region, along with the associated expert training for the Indonesian Navy who will operate the system when it is in service.

The SMP SRV-F Mk3 has been developed by SMP’s new management team, consisting of seven of the world’s foremost submarine rescue experts. As a hybrid system which is capable of deployment both by air and on its mothership, the SRV-F Mk3 can react to a wide range of emergency scenarios, covering larger operating areas and minimizing time to first rescue.

When deployed by air, the rescue submersible can be towed to and from the distressed submarine’s location without needing to be recovered to deck. This key attribute reduces the time, risk and complexity of a rescue mobilization and greatly increases the likelihood of a suitable support ship being available on location. This hybrid approach saves critical time for stranded crews facing diminishing life support supplies, and avoids the integration challenges and dependencies associated with flyaway-only or mothership-only rescue systems.

The SRV-F Mk3 can dive to depths of 500m and is unparalleled in its ability to carry up to 50 rescuees at a time. The adoption of a “One Out, All Out” philosophy facilitates the rapid rescue of an entire crew from a conventional submarine in a single mission, in contrast with other rescue systems which require repeated trips to the distressed submarine.

In addition to the SRV-F Mk3, the new mothership is fitted with a suite of support equipment, including a handling system, an advanced transfer under pressure system and a dedicated decompression chamber, enabling the immediate medical attention and treatment of rescued personnel.

Ben Sharples, Managing Director at SMP said: “The market is evolving, and countries operating conventional submarines in regional waters simply do not need complex systems of the massive scale of nuclear navies. The logistical challenges that come with these larger systems take up time which, in an emergency, we just don’t have.”

The Director General for Defence Potential, Indonesian Ministry of Defence, Major General Mohammad Fadjar, MPICT, said: “The realization of this submarine rescue vehicle project marks a new era for the Indonesian Navy in terms of acquiring this critical capability, as well as being an important step for Indonesia's indigenous defense industry capability.

“Working closely with BTI Defence and its key partners, the Ministry of Defence has ensured that in the process of introducing this important rescue capability into our Navy, we will also be expanding our local defence manufacturing capabilities through the introduction of new skills, new knowledge, and new technologies, particularly in the field of sub-surface operations.”

The contract with the Indonesian Navy follows the recent change in ownership at SMP resulting from the sale of the company to a new shareholder team. The former owner, Phil Connolly, remains Chairman of SMP. The new management team now comprises several of the world’s leading submarine rescue experts, subsea and diving specialists, engineers and naval architects. They understand each element of the subsea support and rescue industry and have unrivalled knowledge of the problems their products solve and the real-life impact they have on submarine operations.

Efforts to map the world’s oceans are ramping up, with new and emerging technologies leading the way.
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