Escape training

JFD offers a range of services to navies; from instructor training to delivery of complete escape training courses.

JFD is the only fully commercial organisation in the world delivering submarine escape training courses directly to naval personnel.

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Escape represents perhaps the most onerous of any emergency scenario facing a submariner. JFD recognises the importance of ensuring that every effort is made to replicate and teach this technique under close instructor supervision in as closely a controlled environment as possible in order to instil confidence and familiarity within each student. It will offer the student realistic conditions in which to rehearse the full evolution from entering the escape tower to climbing aboard a life raft on the surface.


Surface abandonment poses a serious challenge to any submarine crew. The urgency of having to exit a submarine (for reasons such as fire, uncontrolled flooding, unstable weapons or propulsion issues) is compounded by the severely limited access via access hatches, and the very small margins of freeboard that might exist in anything except calm conditions.

The JFD surface abandonment course will be tailor-made to suit customer-specific platforms. Realistic conditions together with close instructor supervision will ensure that each student becomes familiar with this type of scenario.

The training will also include the use of the larger multi-man life rafts.


The JFD DISSUB survival course can be up to a 5-day exercise, which includes placing students inside a pressurised environment and running them through a series of demanding drills under conditions which replicate a DISSUB escape compartment. The aim of the course is to teach the students how to make key decisions on life support and whether to await rescue or undertake escape whilst subject to increasing physical and mental fatigue.

The course would be conducted at the National Hyperbaric Centre based in Aberdeen or, alternatively, at a suitable facility owned by the customer or even a submarine. All the training will remain under close instructor supervision. The course is intended to equip students with additional skills immediately prior to joining a submarine in a position with key maintenance or operational responsibilities.


The JFD senior survivor course is designed to enable the most senior post-DISSUB incident survivor take charge of the escape compartment and coordinate the stabilisation and well-being of the survivors. The role of the senior survivor is critical in achieving a successful escape or rescue.

It is of course recognised that a very junior crew member could end up as the senior survivor but the primary aim of this course is to equip the more experienced submariner with additional details to enable further onboard training.


Rescue training is a short course designed to inform submariners on the type of rescue systems commonly available to their own navy, how they are deployed and controlled, and how they operate with a DISSUB.

The course includes information on how to prepare the DISSUB prior to the mating of the submarine rescue vehicle (SRV), the methods of communication between DISSUB and SRV, and how the initial DISSUB entry process is performed. Evacuation into the SRV, including the handling of injured personnel, is covered, as is the subsequent move from the SRV into the transfer under pressure facility. Details on the level of medical support is also included.


Effective command, control and communications are vital to the success of the mission. This course is aimed at commands, headquarters and national military and civilian organisations, and fully reflects the latest doctrine and procedures developed and agreed upon by the international submarine operating community. It can be provided as stand-alone training for individuals, or in collective form as general familiarisation, and can include a table top exercise.


The commander rescue forces (CRF) has ultimate responsibility for coordinating and controlling the recovery of escapees and/or rescue of survivors from the DISSUB. They will normally be embarked in the most appropriate ship by virtue of equipment and personnel.

Normally the most experienced rescue expert on scene (although not necessarily from the DISSUB nation), the CRF will direct individual rescue elements which will be controlled by the respective rescue element commander (REC).

The CRF course can be combined with a course for RECs, and the primary aim is to advise on international rescue systems that may be available, rescue planning and conduct, and the handling and medical aspects of rescuees.

Both the CRF and command and control courses will include detailed examination of all international documentation and familiarisation with the international submarine escape and rescue liaison office (ISMERLO) website. The ISMERLO provides a worldwide coordination capability and monitors the availability of escape and rescue elements which may assist any nation facing a submarine disaster.

The website acts as a coordination tool from the initial alertment throughout all stages of a SUBSUNK operation.


In the event of a DISSUB incident, effective training will provide vital skills in the ability of the crew to survive the initial event and to subsequently undertake a series of protocols to preserve life on board the DISSUB whilst preparing for escape or rescue.

JFD can provide a wide range of bespoke courses that enable submarine personnel to be trained across all aspects of SMERAS. It also includes courses designed for senior on-scene commanders and those closely associated with the overall coordination and management of major exercises and SUBSUNK operations.

The courses are a combination of classroom-based theory and practical learning, as well as hands-on high-fidelity experiential training whilst removing risks and hazards. Individual courses cover the following:

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All training course plans, documentation and material will be provided with appropriate qualification notations and records supplied to the Customer.

JFD provides naval personnel with courses designed to qualify them in the role of instructor, and equip them with the skills necessary to deliver effective escape training. The courses provide new instructors with a robust syllabus to teach, proven training techniques to apply in the classroom, and the knowledge required to conduct safe in-water exercises.

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JFD can provide complete escape training courses on behalf of navies directly to submariners.

The main focus of JFD's escape courses is the training of submariners in the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and confidence needed to enable escape from a distressed submarine. Courses include introduction, familiarisation and refresher training.

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