Winter 2014-15

JFD expands new SEAL base in Sweden

James Fisher Defence’s new facility in Sweden enables it to keep up with market demand for its specialised range of underwater vehicles.

JFD has opened a new manufacture and maintenance facility in Vaxholm near Stockholm, larger and better configured than its previous plant, which employs 20 marine engineers and support staff. The new facility is capable of parallel production of different classes of vehicle to support customer demands for a small fleet if necessary.

Its unique water-front position on the Stockholm archipelago enables the vehicles to be tested at various stages of development to ensure reliability and performance are fully validated before customer delivery.

Last March, JFD acquired Swedish company, Defence Consulting Europe. Its flagship vehicle, the SEAL Carrier, can travel at high speeds (30kts +) on the surface before submerging and travelling either submerged or semi submerged for more covert operations.

This new plant will allow JFD to meet increasing demand for its SEAL Pod vehicles which will be showcased alongside sister company Divex’s range of diving equipment.

“The new facility allows us to increase our manufacturing capacity and its location makes it ideal for testing our vehicles and training our customers in their operation using Divex’s latest military breathing equipment. The Archipelago is the natural home of the Seal Pod: its islands, bays and inlets show off its surface and subsurface characteristics to great effect - it can dart between islands and submerge as it approaches its location to be completely covert for diver deployment or intelligence gathering.”

Says JFD technical director, Carl Hagman. 

The base (which will become the new headquarters for JFD Sweden) comprises 800m2 of manufacturing space with a fully integrated design and manufacturing capability, allowing designers and engineers to exchange knowledge and information with the team building the vehicles.

The various manufacturing processes such as glass-reinforced plastic handling, machining, hydraulic system integration and electrical engineering will be undertaken in dedicated areas to avoid cross contamination and minimise quality and safety issues. An overpressure room allows for contamination-free assembly of sensitive electrical equipment.

Mike Howarth, managing director of James Fisher Defence says:

“The acquisition of DCE last year was a significant move. The company brings a proven range of products and designs that complement those existing within JFD and we can provide the necessary resource and scale to support growing demand for these products. Working together like this enables us to offer our customers a broader range of vehicles to suit a variety of mission types and deployment methods and means our customers will benefit from our combined subsea engineering experience, safety pedigree and global support network.”

What’s so clever about SEAL pods?

SEAL pod vehicles are surface or subsurface craft (or a combination of the two), which can be customised for a particular deployment method or mission profile to support the insertion and extraction of divers and their equipment. The vehicles are highly flexible and capable of being deployed from surface craft, submarines and even military transport aircraft – the fact that customers require no specific infrastructure to support them means they are readily accessible to navies from around the world.


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