French Navy press release
This mission was part of the SILVER LINK exercise organized by “ALFOST”, the authority within the French Navy responsible for the rescue of submarine crews, and the NSRS, a tripartite organization (France, Norway and the United Kingdom) in charge of deploying and implementing collective rescue means in the event of a submarine sinking.
The exercise resulted in the deployment of the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) dedicated to the recovery, pod-posting and technical expertise of the submarine in distress, from the BSAM. This crucial phase prepares and enables the landing of the Submarine rescue vehicle (SRV) on the hull of the submarine to evacuate the crew.
This exercise also allows to attest the qualifications acquired by the identified vessels, to train the pilots of the ROV and the crew of the carrier vessel. ALFOST experts have been in charge of the follow-up of the certification of these vessels at the “GOLD” level, in the framework of the implementation of the intervention part of the NSRS system.
The certification of the Garonne at the “GOLD” level is a first for a French military ship and allows to qualify the four ships of the class at the same level.
The four BSAMs are now considered as “NSRS motherships” and are able to implement the response system on the two French maritime fronts.
About the Loire-class / BSAM
The first BSAM, the Loire, operates from Toulon; the second ship of the class, the Rhone, operates from Brest. The third unit, the Seine, is based in Toulon and Garonne is based in Brest.
Loire-class vessels can conduct a wide range of support missions: They were designed to accommodate divers, to carry weapons and ammunition, to support submarines and surface ships, to tow underwater antennas, as well as to deploy a pollution control dam. They have a towing capacity of 80 tons of traction, a navigation speed of 14 knots and a significant endurance of about 30 days (without refueling). They are fitted with an 8 meters boat, several RHIBs and a crane for loading and unloading containers.
BASM main caracteristics:
Length overall: 70.30 m
Breadth: 15.80 m
Draft: 5.00 m
Displacement: 2,960 tonnes
Dead-weight: approx. 1000 T
Loading area on deck: 250 m²
Speed: 14 knots
Hull / superstructure: Steel
Amenities: 17 (crew) + 12 passengers
Engine: 2 x 2 650 kilowatts
Generators: 2 x 300 kWe