Underwater and subsurface solutions

David Oliver

JFD, the world leading underwater capability provider serving the commercial and defence diving markets is part of the Scottish based James Fisher and Sons plc.

JFD offers a range of Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs), the primary function of which is to facilitate the insertion and extraction of Special Operations forces and their equipment. The SEAL Pod range of SDVs are surface or subsurface craft, each optimised for a particular deployment method or mission profile. The vehicles have further application in the maritime littoral space that includes specialist maritime operations, mine countermeasures, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, counter-piracy and maritime protection operations.

Sub SEAL is deployed from a submarine and remains submerged throughout the crew’s mission. Torpedo SEAL is deployed from a submarine or any surface or subsurface vessel. SEAL Carrier is an 8-man SDV designed for the covert insertion and extraction of combat diver units. It operates in three modes, surface, semi-submerged and submerged.

JFD provides an extensive range of general diving and life support equipment specifically developed to meet the varied requirements and operational demands of defence divers. These include underwater life support systems, and divers masks. In September 2019 JFD announced the launch of the first dual mode bite mouthpiece, a major safety upgrade to its Stealth rebreathers range that will significantly reduce the potential for incidents when switching to bail-out gas during mine countermeasures and explosive ordnance disposal (MCM-EOD) operations, as well as other underwater missions.

In August 2019 JFD acquired all assets, IP and designs rights of Ortega Submersibles BV, the Netherlands-based submersible boat designer and manufacturer. JFD will also add to its existing SDV manufacturing capability based in Vaxholm, Sweden, and expand its offering to include new vehicle designs that will allow Special Forces operators to safely conduct covertly challenging missions.

As the world’s leading submarine rescue service provider, JFD offers a submarine rescue system capability, vital to the safety of submariners in the global defence industry. JFD’s submarine rescue system capability includes design, manufacture, integration, operation, maintenance and refurbishment services.

As a long-established operator of submarine rescue systems, JFD has been an integral part of the UK’s submarine rescue provision since 1983. The company has been at the heart of the NATO submarine rescue system since it came into service in 2008 as both operator and equipment manufacturer and is also delivering submarine rescue services to some of the most advanced navies in the world.

JFD’s Third Generation submarine rescue systems brings about a renewed focus on efficient design and optimising time to first rescue. For conventional navies and those with modest air-lift capability, it offers a significant step-change in real-world capability.

At Expodefensa, JDF Regional Director, Richard Wilson said that the disastrous loss of the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan had focused several countries on the value of submarine rescue systems including Argentina, Chile and Peru. He said that there was a possibility that they could pool resources in order to acquire a submarine rescue service to cover the Pacific seaboard.

Photo courtesy JDF