Navy diving system for sustained operations approved

Oct. 8 (UPI) — The Naval Sea Systems Command has approved the Navy’s only Saturation Fly Away Diving System for sustained operations up to 30 days.

The Saturation Fly Away Diving System, or SATFADS, approval follows completion on Sept. 26, of a 30-foot wet certification of the launch and recovery system in Panama City, Fla., Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said in a statement.

The SATFADS supports six divers on deep water salvage and recovery operations at 1,000-foot depth for up to 21 days, with an additional nine days of decompression. It is composed of five main parts, including a main deck decompression chamber, the living quarters; a manned diving bell; a bell handling system; a control van; and two auxiliary support equipment vans.

“This effort is a culmination of more than two years of hard work and collaboration within NAVSEA,” Naval Experimental Diving Unit, Saturation Detachment, Master Diver Bill Dodd said in the statement. “It allows our divers to train in a real-world environment that would not have happened if not for the detachment’s technical proficiency.”

The SATFADS completed a manufacturing phase in June 2010 and was relocated to NEDU in Panama City, Fla. where it was reassembled for manned testing and certification.

Testing included transferring divers from the dive bell system to the ocean for a 1,000 foot saturation dive completed in 2011. Saturation diving is a technique which allows divers to avoid the deadly effects of decompression sickness and work at great depths for long periods of time.

The NEDU works on “research, development, test and evaluation of diving, hyperbaric, life support, submersible systems and procedures,” NAVSEA said in the statement.

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