USNS Safeguard, People’s Liberation Army-Navy of China Participate In First-of-its-Kind Submarine Rescue Exercise During RIMPAC 2016

July 12 and 13, Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) conducted a training exercise with a unique counterpart, The People’s Liberation Army (Navy) of China’ssubmarine rescue ship Changdao (867), as part of the ongoing Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise off the coast of Hawaii.

Building on RIMPAC 2016’s theme, “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” the ships conducted a simulated submarine rescue event. Working with the U.S. Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1 (MUDSU-1), the crew of Safeguard loaded, positioned and placed a U.S. faux-NATO submarine rescue chamber (SRC) false seat on the sea floor at a depth of approximately 180 feet. This was done using the ship’s 40 ton capacity boom crane. The false seat functioned as a simulated downed submarine, and was the focus of rescue operations. Safeguard’s ability to lay in a multi-point moor provided a stable platform for diving operations needed in the placement and recovery of the false seat.  Following the placement of the false seat, Changdao launched their LR7 free-swimming rescue vehicle which was able locate and attach to the false seat, simulating a submarine rescue.  Safeguard’s ability to set a multi-point moor provided a stable platform for diving operations needed in the placement and recovery of the false seat.

An LR-7 submersible undersea rescue vehicle from submarine rescue ship Changdao (867) submerges off the coast of Hawaii to perform a mating evolution between the LR-7 and a U.S. faux-NATO rescue seat laid by USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), during Rim of the Pacific 2016.

An LR-7 submersible undersea rescue vehicle from submarine rescue ship Changdao (867) submerges off the coast of Hawaii to perform a mating evolution between the LR-7 and a U.S. faux-NATO rescue seat laid by USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), during Rim of the Pacific 2016.

“The purpose of this exercise was to demonstrate the rescue capabilities of both navies and our abilities to work together in an emergency rescue situation,” explained Capt. Mark Wilson, Safeguards civil service master. “Safeguard’s tasking has brought her into joint operations with many ally nations’ and their military forces within the Asian-Pacific Theater. Our work with Changdao in this year’s RIMPAC exercise went smoothly and illustrates the cooperation and interoperability between our two navies. Training with the Chinese in this event illustrates, to both nations, that should an emergency occur, both navies can operate jointly to perform a rescue.”

A sailor from the Chinese navy submarine rescue ship Changdao (867) sits in an LR-7 submersible undersea rescue vehicle off the coast of Hawaii following a successful mating evolution between the LR-7 and a U.S. faux-NATO rescue seat laid by USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), during Rim of the Pacific 2016.

A sailor from the Chinese navy submarine rescue ship Changdao (867) sits in an LR-7 submersible undersea rescue vehicle off the coast of Hawaii following a successful mating evolution between the LR-7 and a U.S. faux-NATO rescue seat laid by USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), during Rim of the Pacific 2016.

The Chinese navy submarine rescue ship Changdao (867) retrieves an LR-7 submersible undersea rescue vehicle off the coast of Hawaii after a successful mating evolution between the LR-7 and a U.S. faux-NATO rescue seat laid by USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), during Rim of the Pacific 2016.

The Chinese navy submarine rescue ship Changdao (867) retrieves an LR-7 submersible undersea rescue vehicle off the coast of Hawaii after a successful mating evolution between the LR-7 and a U.S. faux-NATO rescue seat laid by USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), during Rim of the Pacific 2016.

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships
that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971

Twenty-seven nations, 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial RIMPAC exercise that will run through Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

About sburford