Spring 2020

Life-saving rescue partnership

JFD Australia has secured a $A70 million (£35 million) contract to continue to supply its world-leading submarine rescue system to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for at least the next four years, which maintains JFD’s position as a world leader in submarine rescue.

The JFD team has been working in close partnership with RAN for more than a decade, providing this critically important undersea combat support system.

In Australia, submarine rescue involves sending a smaller or ‘mini’ piloted submarine to a disabled submarine to rescue the crew on board and transfer them safely under pressure to the ocean’s surface where they are able to receive potentially life-saving decompression treatment in a specially-designed hyperbaric equipment suite.

‘Keeping submariners and other defence force personnel safe has been, and will always be, JFD’s highest priority,’

says Toff Idrus, managing director, JFD Australia (and a former submariner).

‘With our submarine rescue service being one of only four air transportable systems in the world, we are focused on saving lives and we look forward to continuing to be a reliable partner for the RAN through the ongoing delivery of this proven submarine escape and rescue service.’

This contract extension will create at least four full-time defence industry jobs bringing to 10 the number of new positions JFD has created in the past six months. This extension will also see an increased focus in involving more local West Australian industry particularly in the specialist area of operating the system’s new hyperbaric treatment chambers.

Further, the contract also guarantees the continued employment of the workforce of up to 60, including highly skilled specialist engineers and tradespeople at JFD’s Australian headquarters at Bibra Lake in Perth who ensure that the submarine rescue system is ‘rescue ready’ and on standby to respond to a submarine emergency anywhere in the world.

Pressure testing in Scotland

JFD Australia has also secured a $A7.2 million contract with the Australian government to build and pressure-test submarine-like hulls, which will make full use of JFD’s new global testing centre located within the National Hyperbaric Centre facilities in Scotland. 

The hull is the most structurally important part of a submarine as it allows the submarine to withstand incredible amounts of water pressure as it dives deep below the ocean's surface. JFD will be working with Australian partners and at its global testing centre in Scotland to validate analysis methods and procedures that will be relied upon in the future for assurance and acceptance of the pressure hull design of the Australian Attack Class Submarine.

The four-year contract, awarded by the Australian Government Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), will see the JFD team working closely with DSTG, other Australian defence industry firms.

Together, the team will be testing three pressure vessels which simulate a submarine hull, applying pressure to the point where the hull collapses.

 ‘It is impossible to underestimate the critical significance of a submarine’s hull or the expertise and experience required to ensure it is pressure tested to the world’s highest possible safety standards,’ says Toff Idrus, managing director of JFD Australia, ‘Safety will always be JFD’s number one priority.’

The work will be managed from JFD Australia’s headquarters and advanced production centre near Perth where a project management team has already commenced preliminary work on engineering and fabrication of ring-stiffened test cylinders. Specialised transport crates, cradles and pallets and packaging needed for transportation will be made at JFD’s manufacturing and fabrication facilities at Warners Bay near Newcastle, Australia. JFD’s world-leading hydrostatic testing facility in Aberdeen, Scotland, will be used for the final pressure tests on these submarine-like hulls.

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