Just before Christmas I mentioned briefly that Inchinnan, Renfrew based JFD Global, a subsidiary of James Fisher & Sons plc, had on December 21st been awarded the ‘Third In-Service Support’ (3ISS) contract and that will allow the company to continue providing the vital highly specialist range of services to the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS). With the formal announcement through the MOD coming out so close to Christmas I had promised to return to this very significant programme award by providing more detail of the contract award itself and on what I regard as being a fascinating, extremely well-run and extremely important UK company.
The 3ISS award to JFD was announced by the MOD on behalf of the NSRS Participant Nations, UK, France and Norway. Serious incidents involving submarines at sea are mercifully rare but submariners who volunteer to serve in this most vital aspect of Royal Navy military firepower defence and deterrent capability along with those who similarly serve in submarines belonging to our Nato allies are entitled to know that governments have ensured that absolute state of the art safety and recovery systems can be quickly on the scene should a serious incident occur and that may well have left the vessel stranded.
The 3ISS award is not simply about recognition of the vital importance of what JFD does and has achieved, worthy though this clearly is in regard of achievement supporting the concepts of submarine rescue, designing and building new and better technology and in conducting its overall operation within the NATO/NRSS collaborative mandate but it is surely also further recognition of the now well-established international relationship and specifically of how highly regarded JFD is held within the global submarine rescue community.
The NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) as a collaborative partnership was founded in 2008. Hugely successful and recognised internationally as the single most important submarine rescue operation and facility. The 3ISS award to JFD Global is effectively an extension and further enlargement of the first two In-Service Support awards that JFD has very successfully led, operated and grown since the NATO collaboration partnership was founded. JFD Global has been responsible for management of the ‘Second In-Service Support’ (2ISS) since 2015 and will now continue that responsibility under the 3ISS award.
JFD is without doubt the world’s leading underwater capability provider. The company serves commercial and defence markets with innovative diving, submarine and hyperbaric rescue, technical solutions and services. Operating worldwide, JFD is not only the world’s leading provider of submarine rescue capability but is also an established provider of submarine escape training.
JFD is also at the forefront of Hyperbaric Rescue, along with also being the leading supplier of commercial and defence diving equipment and highly specialist saturation diving systems to the commercial industry.
In 2016 LEXMAR was acquired to enhance the capability and offering within JFD’s diving capability and the suite of saturation diving systems offered. Continuing its acquisition phase, JFD acquired diving and recompression specialist Cowan Manufacturing in February 2018 and in August 2019 the company added Ortega Submersibles BV, a Netherlands-based submersible boat designer and manufacturer. Following this, Ansti Test Systems Ltd was acquired in January 2020 in order to provide JFD with the capability to design and manufacture test facilities for performance measurement of underwater/surface breathing apparatus.
In March 2020, JFD acquired Fathom Systems, a leading provider of diver communications, gas analysis, diver monitoring and integrated diving control systems for Diving Support Vessels (DSVs). There is plenty more specific information on this and other companies that are now part of JFD Global and/or James Fisher plc on the specific company acquired website or JFD Global, Fathom Systems or James Fisher and Sons website.
Parent company James Fisher plc is a global leader of specialised services to the marine, energy and defence industries worldwide. As an innovative and fast-growing organisation, our highly skilled team and 175-year heritage enables us to deliver solutions to the most demanding operational and technical challenges faced by our customers. By leveraging our global reach, deep operational understanding, breadth of capability and the enthusiasm and commitment of our staff, James Fisher has become a trusted partner of major corporations, government agencies and other valued customers around the world.
JFD Global has unrivalled experience with real-life submarine rescue incidents and uses this knowledge to ensure submariners have the best chance of survival in an emergency World-leading underwater capability provider. The prestigious ‘Third In-Service Support’ (3ISS) contract award is worth £63 million and as previously mentioned, it continues a seven-year period of safety critical operational assurance services to the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) under the previous 2ISS contract.
The 3ISS contract award is on the part of the collaborative international partnership further demonstration and confidence if it were needed of JFD’s proven ability to provide a full and complete in-service support solution.
The NSRS is without doubt in my view the premier fly-away global submarine operational rescue capability. It exists to give submariners the best chance of survival should a submarine incident occur. The five-year 3ISS contract will start in summer 2023 and has the potential to be extended to a total of nine years. Having managed the ‘Second In-Service Support’ (2ISS) contract since 2015, JFD has demonstrated its proven operational excellence through assured availability of the NSRS. JFD’s 3ISS solution is rooted in intimate system knowledge and operational insight gained throughout the 2ISS contract.
JFD has unrivalled experience with real-life submarine rescue incidents, including locating and identifying the wreckage of KRI Nanggala, and deploying systems in support of the submarine Kursk and AS-28 Priz incidents. Since then ,the company has further built upon this expertise and lessons learned from these incidents have been well used I order to further continue to raise the standards for safety in the submarine rescue domain.
Having its Registered Office Aberdeen Richard Dellar, managing director, JFD, said following the announcement of the 3ISS award that
“We are extremely proud to have been awarded the NSRS 3ISS contract. It is a true testament to the breadth and depth of our talented personnel’s submarine rescue expertise and dedication. This decision firmly places JFD as the world leader in submarine rescue provision. Safeguarding the lives of submariners around the world is our number one priority. The all-toolong list of submarine incidents globally poses as a stark reminder of the critical nature of the services JFD provides. Our dedication to submariners is demonstrated by our continuous drive to set new safety standards and ensure rescue readiness 24/7, 365 days a year. NSRS will continue to form a key part of JFD’s global submarine rescue community along with Australia, Singapore, India and the other nations we support” adding that “We are committed to work alongside the NSRS Authority to ensure the highest levels of operational assurance are always achieved.”
A world leader in the design, build and operation of submarine rescue systems, JFD has played an integral role in the UK’s submarine rescue provision since 1983 and the NSRS since it came into service in 2008. JFD also has a comprehensive global submarine rescue infrastructure, supporting submarine rescue contracts with multiple navies as well as in-service contracts for the Australian, Singaporean and Indian submarine rescue systems. In the event of a distressed submarine (DISSUB), any delay to the rescue operation can have catastrophic results. To locate the DISSUB and rescue the lives on board as quickly as possible, the NSRS must be maintained at a high state of operational readiness and specialist personnel must be fully trained in all aspects of a safe rescue.
JFD’s 3ISS solution builds upon the past seven years’ performance and the team’s extensive knowledge of global submarine rescue systems. Throughout the course of the 2ISS contract, JFD has undertaken 18 mobilisation exercises and its proven team has an established track record for delivery in their field. This expert team, which is focused locally and supported globally, will play a key role in the delivery of 3ISS. Digitisation will also be incorporated into the 3ISS solution, with JFD at the forefront of digitalised asset management. An established provider to over 30 navies worldwide, JFD delivers innovative and technically advanced submarine escape and rescue solutions. The company’s capabilities span the entire submarine escape, rescue, abandonment and survival (SMERAS) environment, and JFD is unique in being able to deliver solutions across all of these areas.
CHW (London – 5th January 2023)
Howard Wheeldon FRAeS
Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd,
M: +44 7710 779785