Project Summary

Worked with the Royal Australian Navy to upgrade their Submarine Escape and Rescue Service Hyperbaric Suite.

This included the containerised Hyperbaric Suite comprising of two Deck Decompression Chambers (DDC) connected to a Transfer-Under-Pressure (TUP) Chamber. After a public tender process, HIFraser’s Engineering Consulting Group was successful in winning the contract to provide services for the hyperbaric upgrade.



SERS Upgrade – The Royal Australian Navy

Project Details

  • Hyperbaric suite upgrade including provision of a complete set of Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) documentation
  • Low Pressure Air Compressor & Distribution Board (LPAC&DB) custom designed to meet stringent Australian Defence Force air transportability requirements of DEF(AUST)9009A
  • Environmental Control System (ECS) required to perform under a very broad range of conditions

Project Scope

The scope of this project included:

  • Project and concept design development
  • System and detailed design and documentation
  • Procurement
  • Fabrication
  • Factory testing
  • Installation
  • Set-to-work
  • Commissioning
  • Acceptance testing
  • Certification
  • Operator training
  • Project management

Hyperbaric Upgrade

The extent of the hyperbaric upgrade included:

  • The design, supply, DNV certification and testing of a containerised, air transportable Low Pressure Air Compressor & Distribution Board (LPAC&DB) Module, to distribute breathable blowdown air and power to the hyperbaric suite
  • The design, supply, DNV certification and testing of a containerised, air transportable, fully automatic Environmental Control System (ECS) to maintain temperature and humidity within all 7 locks of the DDCs and TUP
  • The design, installation and DNV certification of SOLAS Class A-60 fire insulation to the DDC and TUP containers
  • The design of a seawater pumping system to enable ballast bags in the Australian Submersible Rescue Vehicle (ASRV) to be filled, whilst under pressure, via the TUP chamber
  • Complete stripping of the DDCs and TUP, hydrostatically testing and repainting the chambers, overhauling, cleaning, testing and certification of the hyperbaric equipment prior to re-assembling the systems
  • Upgrading the oxygen and emergency pressurisation supply system, providing full gas supply redundancy
  • Conceptual design and DNV certification of a stacking and deck lashing arrangement to stack the ECS and LPAC&DB container on top of the DDC Containers
  • Provision a complete set of Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) documentation describing the entire standalone hyperbaric capability of the SERS suite including a CAD package, operation and maintenance documentation, training package, and a safety case report.

Low Pressure Air Compressor & Distribution Board (LPAC&DB) Module

  • Providing two of the most critical services to the hyperbaric suite, pressurisation air and power, this thirty foot, air transportable container was designed and manufactured in Australia to meet the demanding requirements of DNV rules.
  • Two sea-water cooled, high flow, low pressure, screw compressors and two desiccant dryers provided 100% redundancy in the breathing quality pressurisation air to the hyperbaric suite. Continuous local and remote monitoring of the delivered air purity ensured compliance with the requirements of DNV rules, Australian Defence specifications and AS/NZS 2299.
  • Separated from the compressors by a fire resistant wall, two mil-spec 500A power receptacles and a distribution board distributed the main and emergency power supplies to the entire hyperbaric suite via IP65 sockets integrated into the container wall.
  • Both compartments were protected by fixed fire detection and extinguishing systems.
  • HIFraser custom designed the container to meet the stringent Australian Defence Force air transportability requirements of DEF(AUST)9009A. Structural design was verified through detailed finite element analyses. Layout was optimised to keep the container’s centre of gravity to within 322mm of the centre of the container.

Environmental Control System (ECS)

Ensuring that rescued submariners were kept within safe environmental parameters, the system was required to perform under a very broad range of conditions. The design criteria included ambient conditions from 0 to 45°C, 0 to 99% relative humidity, plus the heat and moisture loading from 0 to 72 occupants at any given moment.

Comprising a seawater-cooled 45kW capacity refrigeration system with hot and cold water tanks, distribution pumps and a state of the art control system, the ECS independently monitors and controls the temperature and humidity within each of the 7 locks to within ±1°C and ±3% RH.

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Submarine Escape & Rescue System Upgrade by HIFraser


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