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NATO Submarine Rescue Exercise Concludes in Turkey
MARMARIS, Turkey - NATO led submarine exercise Dynamic Monarch concludes today at Aksaz Naval Base in Turkey after two weeks of multi-national training and practice in Submarine Escape and Rescue (SMER) procedures.
Centered around the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), an organization created in the wake of the Kursk tragedy as an international hub for information and coordination on submarine rescue, the exercise is designed to demonstrate multi-national submarine rescue co-operation and interoperability as well as share SMER related knowledge amongst worldwide partners.
Nine NATO Allies participated in the exercise this year with equipment or personnel including Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, observers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, South Korea, Sweden and the United Kingdom experienced various portions of the exercise as well.
The exercise ran multiple scenarios over the two week period focused on both support to escaping submariners and rescue of submariners trapped in a sub at depth.
If a submarine is in distress at a shallow depth, the sailors may be able to escape from the submarine and get to the surface of the water. During the exercise a special team of Turkish medical personnel called the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group (SPAG) practiced parachuting into open water to set up temporary floating medical support for escaping submariners. This floating medical support would be used until a ship could get to the location to pick up the sailors.
The rescue phases of the exercise aligned with the primary phases of a submarine rescue: locate the distressed submarine, stabilize the environment aboard and extricate the sailors from the distressed submarine. Each situation is different and must take into account the dangers and complexity of operating at significant depths.
- To find a distressed submarine, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) were used as well as ship and helicopter based sonar.
- Once found, rescuers can use the ROV, or send down a rescuer in an Atmospheric Diving Suit to conduct a survey of tehe submarine and possibly connect cables to ventilate the submarine chambers from a surface ship (bringing in fresh air and removing built up carbon dioxide) to stabilize the environment inside the submarine.
- To practice rescuing sailors from depth, a variety of equipment was used including two different types of submarine rescue chambers and two types of mini submarine. These vehicles made multiple dives throughout the two weeks to the three submarines participating in the exercise. Upon reaching the submarines, they practiced connecting to the submarine escape hatches at depth and bring sailors to the surface.
In addition, the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) participated for the first time in the DYNAMIC MONARCH exercise, bringing to the operational players a new digital underwater acoustic communications capability that may increase significantly the effectiveness of distressed submarines escape and rescue operations.
In total, the exercise included approximately 1,000 personnel, command and control ship TCG Gemlik, three submarines (TCG Burakreis, TCG Preveze and ESPS Tramontana), four submarine rescue ships (TCG Alemdar with Turkish and US submarine rescue chambers onboard, TCG Inebolu, ITS Anteo and SD Northern River with embarked NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) operated by the United Kingdom, France and Norway), four Turkish patrol boats, four Turkish aircraft (helicopters, Maritime Patrol Aircraft and a C-130), diving teams from Canada, Italy, Poland and Turkey, Medical teams from Canada, Turkey and NSRS (France, Norway and the UK), a Submarine Parachute Assistance Group from Turkey and significant support from host nation Turkey in administration, accommodation, contracting, logistics, transportation and personnel.