Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Scuba Divers Complete Test of New U.S. Navy Saturation Diving System

From News Herald:

Jad Graves said he had always heard the stories about some of the older Navy saturation divers and their exploits hundreds of feet beneath the sea.

Graves was one of one six Naval Experimental Diving Unit divers that emerged from the Navy’s new Saturation Fly-Away Diving System (SAT FADS) Friday morning at NEDU’s pier.

“I’m glad I’m doing it,” Graves said, minutes after he was greeted by NEDU personnel after his 11 days in the SAT FADS.

The divers went into the diving system April 18, as part of a manned, pier side test of SAT FADS at a pressurized, simulated depth of 1,000 feet. SAT FADS is designed to help Navy saturation divers with salvage and rescue operations.

It can support six divers working on the ocean floor for up to 21 days, according to NEDU, with an additional nine days of decompression to support deep aircraft and ship recovery or salvage operations.

The 40-by-80-foot system includes a main deck decompression chamber, manned dive bell, bell handling system, command and control center, two auxiliary support equipment containers, and bulk helium and oxygen storage racks. Living quarters are located in the deck decompression chamber.

George Goehring, a NEDU technical department head, said the Navy currently has only one of the systems. He said the diving system would be used in situations like submarine rescue and lost airplane salvage.

Divers in teams of three can work up to eight hours a day from the SAT FADS during an operation, Goehring said, with another three-man team aboard the unit able to rotate in and continue work with minimal interruption until a job is completed.

“This is really no different than what the civilian oil drilling community does on a regular basis,” Goehring said.

The system can be mounted aboard a Navy vessel and employed anywhere, Goehring added.

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