On April 18, six divers at the U.S. Navy’s Experimental Diving Unit in Panama City, Fla., entered the system and commenced pressurization to begin a 12-day stay in dry conditions that simulated a water depth of 1,000.
NEDU Commanding Officer Mark Matthews said the system’s operation was nearly flawless.
The test, to ensure the system was habitable at up to 1,000 feet deep, is one in a required progression of tests that will eventually lead to its operational use.
This test was anticipated to be the last step prior to manned testing at sea.
Earlier, on April 8, another Navy team successfully simulated a pier-side dry dive to 250 feet.
SAT FADS was procured by the Naval Sea System Command’s Office of the Supervisor of Salvage and Diving and delivered to NEDU in Panama City, Fla., where the Navy was conducting manned certification testing of the system. SAT FADS will provide a critical saturation diving capability to support Navy salvage and recovery operations around the world.
The system is designed to be deployed using military or commercial aircraft and commercial over-the-road tractor trailers and can be installed on any suitable commercial vessel of opportunity.
SAT FADS will support six divers to depths of 1,000 feet seawater for 30 days.
The entire system requires 40 feet by 70 feet of deck space and consists of five major components: a main deck decompression chamber, a three-man diving bell, the bell handling system, a control van and two auxiliary support equipment vans. Living quarters are located in the decompression chamber.