Launch and recovery systems

James Fisher Defence logo.png

JFD has a history of safe launch and recovery operations (LARS) involving submarine rescue vehicles, rescue bells and remotely operated vehicles.

JFD offers a range of both off-the-shelf and bespoke systems to handle submersibles, unmanned vehicles and other equipment. We work with clients to identify solutions for particular requirements, however unique.

The handling of payloads in high sea-states is a difficult and potentially hazardous operation. Specialist knowledge of the design, manufacture and operation of launch and recovery systems is essential when procuring a new launch and recovery system (LARS).

JFD can provide LARS in a number of configurations including: fully integrated, fly-away and diverless. Each carefully balances cost, simplicity of maintenance and operation, and mobilisation time.

We are able to provide clients with:

  • Complete launch and recovery systems
  • Interface adapters
  • Modifications and upgrades
  • Through life support

JFD has provided launch and recovery systems for submarine rescue vehicles that can be operated in up to sea-state 5. Recognising that the safe operation of a rescue system relies on much more than just suitable equipment, JFD also provides the necessary training to LARS operators that ensure this level of capability can be achieved. Find out more about training.

An important consideration when looking at LARS is the need for divers to be in the water. JFD is experienced in both diver-led and diverless recovery systems.

For those seeking to upgrade legacy equipment in order to gain cross-compatibility with different systems, or to improve the systems performance with current equipment, JFD can provide the necessary expertise to ensure the upgrades are performed in a timely fashion, whilst maintaining the highest level of system safety possible. 

Fully integrated LARS

  • Permanently installed, yet transferrable
  • Optimised for reliability and maintainability
  • Certified for submersible operations
  • Includes dual-redundant portable hydraulic power pack
  • Includes rail and trolley system with self-alignment functionality
  • Includes tow winch
  • 30 tonne safe working load
  • Operable in sea state 5
  • 60 tonne total weight (excluding power pack)
  • Integrated diverless LARS
  • Designed and manufactured in accordance with Lloyd’s Register rules


Fly-away portable handling system

  • Modular transportable system
  • Optimised for rapid redeployment by air and road
  • Certified for submersible operations
  • Includes dual-redundant portable hydraulic power pack
  • Includes deck cradle
  • Includes tow winch
  • 25 tonne safe working load
  • Operable in 5m significant wave height
  • 40 tonne total weight (excluding power pack)
  • Optional diverless LARS
  • Designed and manufactured in accordance with Lloyd’s Register rule 


Diverless LARS

  • Improved safety by eliminating the most dangerous part of the recovery process by removing the need to have personnel in the water
  • Can be operated in higher sea states than alternative systems
  • Provides an increased operating window
  • Must be integrated into both the submarine rescue vehicle and ship recovery systems
  • System currently in operation in Singapore


LARS for remotely operated vehicles (ROV's)

JFD has many years of experience operating, maintaining and deploying ROV's and their associated LARS.

As the purpose of an intervention ROV system is to augment life-support onboard stricken submarines during the early stage of a rescue, minimising the time to first intervention is of vital importance. JFD considers all aspects of the LARS (A-frame, winch, sheave and powerpack) to provide a balance between portability and capability.

In 2005, JFD mobilised the ROV assets of the UK submarine rescue service to Kamchatka, Russia in order to rescue the seven submariners onboard the AS-28 Priz submersible. Find out more about the rescue. 


Type Document Download
Flyer LARS