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NEWS | Nov. 21, 2017

Joint Base Charleston C-17 deploys to deliver U.S. Navy's undersea rescue

Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

A C-17 Globemaster III from Joint Base Charleston joined six other U.S. Air Force C-17s and three C-5M Super Galaxies deployed to Argentina on Nov. 18 to deliver the U.S. Navy's undersea rescue capabilities to aid in the search for the A.R.A. San Juan, an Argentine navy submarine, which went missing in the southern Atlantic Ocean Nov. 15.


The flight from Joint Base Charleston to Argentina carried a tow bar, a Tunner 60K Aircraft Cargo Loader and three members of the 437th Aerial Port Squadron. While on the ground, the team conducted runway assessments prior to other equipment arriving in country.


"In humanitarian emergencies like this, the 437th Airlift Wing's real-time global response capability can save lives," said Col. Jimmy Canlas, 437th Airlift Wing commander. "Our rapid global mobility response bringing critical supplies and assistance to our Argentine allies and friends may be the difference."


As part of the total effort, the Air Force transported the first rescue system, the Submarine Rescue Chamber (SRC) and underwater intervention Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina. They arrived in Argentina Nov. 19.


The second rescue system, the Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM) and supporting equipment will be transported via additional flights and is scheduled to arrive in Argentina early next week.


The U.S. government is supporting a request from the government of Argentina for international assistance to the ongoing search for the missing submarine and possible rescue opportunities once the vessel and crew are located, according to a press release written by U.S. Southern Command Nov. 18.


"Our Airmen understand their responsibility and unique ability to respond within hours anywhere in the world," added Canlas. "They, along with our joint service partners, have made a visible impact on this operation to assist our partners in Argentina during this time of need."


The SRC is a McCann rescue chamber designed during World War II and still used today. SRC can rescue up to six persons at a time and reach a bottomed submarine at depths of 850 feet. The PRM can submerge up to 2,000 feet for docking and mating, with a submarine settled on the ocean floor up to 45-degree angle in both pitch and roll. The PRM can rescue up to 16 personnel at a time. Both assets are operated by two crewmembers and mate with the submarine by sealing over the submarine's hatch allowing Sailors to safely transfer to the rescue chamber.