Friday, 25 July 2014

European Human Powered Submarine Races

European Human Powered Submarine Races

 by Clare Anderson

The return of the biennial European International Submarine Races to the UK earlier this
month saw the skills and talents of the next generation of engineers were put to the test. James Fisher Defence (JFD) was pleased to team up with industry partners to sponsor the week-long event in which teams of students from universities across the world raced their human powered submarines around an underwater slalom course in Europe’s biggest undercover freshwater tank. Teams from ten universities across 3 continents took up this unique engineering challenge to design, build and pilot their own submarine designs, using only human pedal power for propulsion.

Each team demonstrated outstanding engineering skills and innovation, in particular Omer 9 from École de Technologies Supérieure Montreal, Canada, who picked up the top competition prize for the second time. Omer 9 also scooped the James Fisher Defence Award for Agility and Endurance, completing not only the fastest course lap time over two laps without picking up a single fault, but also the greatest speed between two timed gates, achieving a speed of 7.1 knots. The judges of the agility award pay particular attention to manoeuvrability as well as minimising the impact of pilot fatigue on the operation of the submarine vehicle, which the Omer 9 team were able to demonstrate effectively with their submersible.

Ben Sharples, Director, James Fisher Defence, said: ‘This unique challenge provides the perfect opportunity for the industry to engage with students from across the world who posses the skills, experience and enthusiasm essential to the development of advanced sub-sea engineering and operations. With a firm focus on design, innovation and safety, the event allows active engagement between the industry today and the engineers of tomorrow...Of course, it’s a also great fun!’

The competitors and visitors also had the chance to attend various master classes and a graduate fair, hosted by leading industry experts, including Senior Mechanical Design Engineer Craig Freshwater and Naval Architect Adam Jones from JFD. Craig provided a valuable insight into the world of swimmer delivery vehicle design and how engineers and designers at JFD came to bring the SEAL Pod range of SDVs, some of the most advanced surface and subsurface craft in the world, from design through to reality. This allowed many of the students to draw parallels between the vehicles they had designed and those already in operation with navies across the world.

For images of the event and also a video showing a medley of the week’s action, click here:

Note: We hope all of these these contenders will consider entering the first NAVAL FORCES Essay contest, to be announced in October at Euronaval 2014 in Paris with winners being judged by and announced at MAST Asia 2015 in Yokohama.  Truly an international programme from the world's leading Naval Defence and Maritime Security journal, NAVAL FORCES.

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