By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gerald Dudley Reynolds, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Crew members from Undersea Rescue Command (URC) and contractors from Phoenix International commenced the recertification of pressurized rescue module Falcon (PRM-1) aboard surface support ship Hornbeck Offshore Services Dominator, April 2-7.
This recertification is the first in-water test completed in two years.
The Falcon PRM is tethered and remotely operated to rescue submarines.
"Recertifying the Falcon is a very detailed but important process," said Lt. j. g. Shawn Branske, Commander, Submarine Squadron 11's URC maintenance officer. "The entire asset is torn down and examined from the nuts and bolts to the latches."
The process took several days to ensure quality checks were done correctly before going out to sea.
"Part of this recertification process is to make the rescue operations run more smoothly," said Jeremie Arnold, mechanical technician for the Falcon. "I have done recovery operations in Spain and India but there is always something we can improve on."
The Falcon is an essential part of submarine recovery and rescue. It uses 12 thrusters to maneuver the module in the water, which allow it to reach a disabled submarine within minutes.
Operators can use it to conduct rescue operations at depths of up to 2,000 feet where a pumping mechanism helps attach it to a disabled submarine and can be adjusted for mating at up to 45 degrees.
Once mated to the submarine, high-pressure pumps release water pressure through the transfer skirt. After the pressure is released up to 16 personnel can be transferred at a time.
"The rescue module is also equipped with 12 cameras and three sonars, which can be used to help locate the disabled submarine," said Arnold. "The Falcon is a very rapidly deployable asset to help all navies with a rescue."
The Falcon is scheduled to perform deep water testing later this month to finalize the recertification process.