NATO submarine rescue exercise at Faslane

Experts from three nations gathered at Faslane last week for a large scale NATO submarine rescue exercise.

Rescued men recompress inside the TUP system
‘Rescued men” recompress inside the TUP system

The Northern Diving Group played a lead role in the project, which used the £130m Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) therapeutic recovery system.

Based in a purpose-built 150-metre hangar at HM Naval Base Clyde, this can cleanse the crew from contaminants and crucially, re-compress oxygen-saturated sailors.

This is stored in sequence, ready to be loaded on to trucks and then to heavy transport aircraft, for onward transit to the incident.

There the NATO team would will requisition the nearest appropriate ship on which the entire TUP system can be welded to the stern.

Lieutenant Commander Steve Brown, who runs the Northern Diving Group at Faslane, said: “It is a quite brilliant stand-alone system designed simply to save submariners’ lives anywhere in the world.

“That said however, it is a brutal reality that if a submarine were to go down in really deep water there is nothing that anyone could do because the pressures would become too great for anything to survive.”

“Speed is essential in getting to a stricken submarine and the fact that we can be on the move in three hours with 360 tonnes of equipment and a team of around 75 specialists from the UK, France and Norway is impressive in its own right.”