British naval personnel have been taking part in the world’s largest submarine rescue exercise.
Hosted by Turkey and sponsored by NATO, Dynamic Monarch is a submarine search, escape and rescue exercise that enables partner nations to demonstrate and share knowledge.
More than 1,000 military and civilian personnel from Britain, the US, Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Turkey were taking part.
Alongside three submarines, four sub rescue ships, five surface ships, four aircraft, three medical teams, and one parachute assistance group were involved in Exercise Dynamic Monarch.
A key element of the exercise is the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS), which is owned and operated by Norway, France and the United Kingdom.
The NSRS is stored and maintained in Scotland at a giant purpose-built hangar at HM Naval Base Clyde.
The NATO Submarine Rescue System is designed to aid personnel in distressed subs. It's mini-submarine ‘Nemo’ is always on standby.
It can dive to depths of more than 2,000 feet (601m), which is deep enough to operate almost anywhere in the world.
The Submarine Rescue Vehicle is designed to operate in all weather conditions. In February 2017, the SRV was deployed in sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic Circle.
Six months later it was operating in the much warmer waters of the Eastern Mediterranean off Turkey. The NSRS Programme Manager, Commander Ian Duncan is confident about the vessel's abilities:
“This exercise has been an opportunity to operate at the different ends of the spectrum”
When the Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) connects with a stricken sub, the first people to enter will be a Doctor and a Nurse, who will assess the condition of the crew and treat injuries.
The NSRS’s decompression chambers can take up to 35 people at a time. French Navy crew member Clement Bouvrot said rescue vessels like these are vital for saving submariners:
“If there are severe injuries we bring them into the treatment facilities we have here”
NATO said the 10th Dynamic Monarch exercise demonstrated the need for multinational cooperation in submarine escape and rescue knowledge.
Commander Ian Duncan acknowledged it had been a boost for those involved.
“It’s given everyone on board a real sense of confidence”