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Undersea Rescue Command (URC) Assets

Last updated: 22 Nov 2017

Undersea Rescue Command (URC) is the U.S. Navy's official command for the rescue of sailors during a submarine casualty anywhere in the world. Its mission is worldwide submarine assessment, intervention and rescue.

URC, homeported at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, San Diego, conducts its mission using deep submergence systems including a remotely operated underwater vehicle, submarine rescue chamber, pressurized rescue module and side scan sonar.

As an engaged and active member of the international rescue community, URC conducts numerous exercises and conferences throughout the world to train, share and exercise undersea rescue. URC is comprised of approximately 145 personnel: 45 active duty officers and enlisted Sailors, 35 contractors and 65 reservists.

URC's undersea rescue capabilities include the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), Submarine Rescue Chamber (SRC) and the Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM).
Submarine Rescue Chamber (SRC)
The SRC is a McCann rescue chamber designed during World War II and is still used today. The SRC is operated by two crewmembers and is lowered using a tethered cable to the submarine. Once the chamber reaches the submarine, it seals over the submarine's hatch, allowing sailors to be safely transfer to the rescue chamber.

The SRC can rescue up to six persons at a time and reach a bottomed submarine at depths of 850 feet. SRC is the main component of the Submarine Rescue Chamber Flyaway System (SRCFS), which is capable of worldwide submarine rescue missions. Once launched, the SRCFS is able to operate around the clock.

The SRC consists of an upper and lower compartment. The upper is maintained at atmospheric pressure and contains operators, passengers and controls. The lower is flooded at ambient sea pressure and blown dry after mating to transfer personnel. It contains a downhaul drum and spooling device. The ballast tanks are normally dry but flooded during mating process to provide additional weight.

Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM-1) Falcon
The PRM-1 Falcon is a tethered, remotely operated submarine rescue vehicle. It is capable of diving to depths up to 2,000 feet and mating with a disabled submarine trapped on the sea floor up to a 45-degree angle in both pitch and roll. Two crewmembers operate the PRM, which can rescue up to 16 personnel at a time. The PRM is the main component of the Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System (SRDRS), which is capable of being flown anywhere in the world to rescue either U.S. or partner nation submariners in distress.

SRDRS is designed for quick worldwide deployment in the event of a submarine accident and is transportable by truck, aircraft, or ship.

The SRDRS replaced the vessels Mystic and Avalon, two previous rescue submarines, as the primary deep sea rescue asset for submariners.

Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) Sibitzky
The Sibitzky ROV system consists of a 13.5-foot operations van, a 6.5-foot spares van, a winch with 3,000 feet of soft umbilical cord, a launch and recovery system, and the Sibitzky vehicle. The ROV is named after BM2 Martin C. Sibitzky, who received a Navy Cross for his valiant actions during the USS Squalus rescue and salvage operations May 23, 1939.

The Sibitzky ROV weighs 2,000 pounds, is variably buoyant and has a maximum depth of 2,000 feet. It consists of six thrusters for maneuvering, five high-definition cameras for intervention and salvage, two robust manipulators capable of lifting 100 pounds each, a front-looking sonar system and an advanced navigation system that allows station keeping so the pilot can focus on work at hand.

The ROV is the main component of the Assessment/Underwater Work System (AUWS), which also includes Launch and Recovery System (LARS), a flyaway sonar and associated support equipment. This is the first system mobilized in the event that a submarine becomes disabled. The system will help confirm and mark the disabled submarine, assess surrounding conditions, clear debris from a submarine's hatch and even provide emergency life support stores (ELSS) replenishment.
Originally named Submarine Rescue Unit in the 1960's, the unit was later renamed to Deep Submergence Unit in 1989, and in 2008 renamed again to present day URC.
General Characteristics, SRC
Depth: 850 feet maximum
Crew: Two operators and six passengers
Load: Weight: (dry) 21,600 pounds; (in water) 1,000 pounds (454 Kg) buoyant
General Characteristics, PRM-1 Falcon
Depth: 2,000 feet maximum
Crew: Two operators and 16 passengers
Load: Weight: 39,790 pounds
General Characteristics, Sibitzky ROV
Beam: Frame Material: Aluminum
Displacement: Buoyancy: Syntactic Foam
Depth: Rating: 600 msw/2,000 fsw
Load: Weight: (in air) 2,000 pounds; (in water) positive without ballast

Point of Contact
Undersea Rescue Command

NAS North Island
San Diego, CA


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