New generation of recompression chambers for the French Navy






1 Dec, 2022



New generation of recompression chambers for the French Navy

Dec 1, 2022

Photo l’Ophrys : ©Jean-Claude BELLONNE

Commissioning of the COMEX recompression chamber delivered to SEE MERRÉ to equip the first diving support vessel of the French Navy.

On November 9, 2022, Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) took delivery of the Ophrys, the first of eight diving support vessels (VSP) for the French Navy.

This launch will be used primarily for mine countermeasures in shallow waters. It will be used by the diving school in Saint-Mandrier (Var) and the three groups of mine clearance divers stationed in Toulon, Brest and Cherbourg.

The Comex team was responsible for the design, manufacture, installation and validation of the hyperbaric chamber and the associated gas networks of this first launch, from its workshops to the final site of use.

COMEX has been a player in the Defense sector for over 50 years. Our innovation approach is at the heart of the company’s objectives, with a desire to provide the user armed forces with an operational advantage, while improving the conditions of use and the accomplishment of their missions.

The main missions of the new diving support vessel (VSP):

  • Searches and interventions to a depth of sixty meters with a team of sixteen divers,
  • Research by towed sonar to a depth of one hundred meters,
  • Support of underwater work sites or expertise and interventions under the hulls of ships.

Thanks to their reduced size and draught, the VSPs can be deployed in areas of shallow water that are not accessible to more substantial means.

The challenge taken up by COMEX was to give this hyperbaric chamber a level of equipment close to those used in hospitals. This new generation of onboard chambers for the French Navy marks a real break with those currently in service. For example, the control of the treatment tables can be managed automatically by the chamber’s control system. This modernity will bring a notable gain for the safety, the comfort of the users and the care of the casualties.

In order to guarantee a better follow-up and assistance, this innovative equipment is equipped with a hyperbaric artificial respirator, 2 monitoring/defibrillator sets equipped with a telemedicine capacity allowing a real-time retransmission of medical data outside the chamber.

The new generation of COMEX recompression chambers is made up of a chamber and an airlock:

  • A HD video surveillance system for the chamber with retransmission to the control panel,
  • A new communication system developed by COMEX to meet the constraints of hyperbaric chambers,
  • An emergency power supply system that guarantees an autonomy of more than 6 hours for the use of the hyperbaric chamber,
  • • A complete hyperbaric fire fighting system with spray nozzles meeting the same requirements as those of hyperbaric installations in hospitals,
  • A set of equipment to control the ambient parameters accompanied by an emergency system to absorb the CO2 exhaled by the occupants of the hyperbaric chamber,
  • In the chamber, a folding seat for the accompanying staff and 2 removable and multi-position stretchers for the best comfort of the occupants,
  • Therapeutic fluids distribution stations with demand regulators and exhaled gas discharges.
  • The control station located at the entrance of the hyperbaric chamber gathers the necessary equipment for its operation and use according to 3 operating modes:

    • Manalwith high precision manual control valves
    • Semi-automatic with linear electric controls offering flexibility and precision/li>
    • Automatic allowing the automatic creation of treatment tables from a library parameterized by the users

    The new French Navy launches incorporating a COMEX recompression chamber are part of the Navy’s hyperbaric installations for which COMEX is responsible as part of the maintenance of operational condition (MCO) contract.

    Source : press release DGA, 14/11/22
    Hyperbaric chamber pictures : ©COMEX


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