"There is, what someone described to me, as something of an underwater space race going on. One which presumably the Chinese now are leading, but the Koreans and Singaporeans are not far behind."
I don't think it is proper to call rescue operations and capabilities a "race" There is no loser in it and the world does not need another Kursh incident.
'Most advanced' rescue sub tested
The rescue sub can operate in depths of up to 300 metres.
The world's most advanced rescue submarine, commissioned by the Chinese Navy, is undergoing trials at an underwater centre in Fort William.
Capable of operating in depths of more than 300 metres, its size means it can rescue up to 18 people at once.
The trials are taking place in Loch Linnhe, where water depths are up to 150 metres.
The vessel could deal with incidents such as Russia's Kursk disaster 2000, in which 118 sailors died.
Once the first phase of tests are completed, the LR7 will take part in a simulated rescue.
The final phase of trials, part of an extensive testing and design process, will include pilot training.
The vessel was designed and developed by Perry Slingsby Systems, part of the Aberdeen-based Triton Group.
BBC reporter Ben Geoghan described the experience of going down in the submarine as "quite comfortable". He said the main advantage of the LR7 is its large size.
He added: "There is, what someone described to me, as something of an underwater space race going on. One which presumably the Chinese now are leading, but the Koreans and Singaporeans are not far behind.
"The real test will come when we do get another accident at sea involving a sub to see which vessel is deployed and whether they do manage to bring back survivors."
The rescue submarine itself has a relatively quick turnaround time and can stay underwater for up to four days.
Martin Anderson, chief executive of Triton Group, said it was an "extremely exciting development".
After the trial is complete, the LR7 will undergo further checks and be fitted with ancillary equipment before being delivered to China for sea trials.
They are also be tained at SETT
China conduct Pressurised Escape Training at SETT
A Chinese delegation attended SETT in July 2008, two of the delegation were the first students from China to conduct Pressurised Escape Training.
The course was the first of its kind for China and highlighted the importance of Pressurised Escape Training not only for UK submariners but for every submariner all over the world.
Many more countries throughout the world are introducing Pressurised Escape Training because they are aware of the risks and dangers that face submariners and believe it is the only way to prepare for the unthinkable. As well as successfully conducting Pressurised Escape Training the delegation were also given presentations on the role of SPAG by Lt Andy Sharpe and Rescue Assets by Cdr Charlie Neve.
The students completed unpressurised elements of the course involving Surface Survival drills, Rush Escape and various modules in the classroom including Survival in the DISSUB.
Furthur discussion was also provided with subject matter expert Mr Brian Wood (right) on the operation and manning of the Submarine Escape Training Tank.
This visit was important for the SETT in that it identifies that Submariners all over the world from varying cultures look to the UK for leadership and guidance with regards to preparing submariners to escape successfully from a distressed Submarine. This unique type of training can only be achieved using the equipment in a PRESSURISED enviroment.