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Supporting world-class facilities at HMNB Clyde 

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Military Training, Royal Navy
A line of sailors in bright orange dry suits. Only one is in focus, smiling at a companion next to him. His dry suit is wet.
Sailors waiting at the SMERAS facility. [Crown Copyright/MOD2020]

DIO is incredibly proud to hand over the new £34m submarine escape, rescue, abandonment and survival (SMERAS) training building to the Royal Navy. 

 The SMERAS is a facility which will allow the Navy the capability to carry out essential on shore training for personnel in vital escape, rescue, abandonment and survival techniques using a unique controllable training environment. 

The left side of the image is a vertical wall. The right is a pool, with a sailor in an orange dry suit who is mostly in the water, but hanging on to a rope ladder with his hands.
A sailor enters the training pool at the SMERAS facility. [Crown Copyright/MOD2020]

DIO led on building the new structure, with technical design and support provided by Mott MacDonald, to design and house this one-of-a-kind facility. 

An internationally renowned training resource, it has been recognised by navies throughout the world for its cutting-edge technology and equipment. 

Realistic training 

The building will showcase a realistic submarine escape training environment in which trainees can experience a range of weather conditions and sea states including wind, rain and storms so that they can practice escape, rescue and abandonment techniques in a safe and low risk environment before they board a real submarine. 

It is important for submariners to have the opportunity to train in realistic conditions so that they are prepared for any scenario when they are at sea. 

A unique building with unique challenges 

 A building like this is quite unique and like nothing HMNB Clyde has seen before. The project posed some challenges including finding the right space on the naval base as HMNB Clyde has a fairly limited amout of space for new buildings. We also needed to consider the related projects for the other training buildings so that the various infrastructure and roads around the base suited all the projects and joined everything together sensibly. Finally, we had to bear in mind that this was a live naval base, so we had to be sure that we did not interrupt any ‘business as usual’ work or training. There were also many practical challenges such as ensuring proper links to the existing electrical supply and other utilities. 

The project obviously also required us to work extremely closely with the Royal Navy to ensure that the building met their requirements and would suit the range of specialist equipment being installed. 

Two sailors in orange dry suits sit on the edge of an orange and black training life raft in a pool.
Sailors can practise using life rafts at the SMERAS facility. [Crown Copyright/MOD2020]

The Navy described it as a ‘world-class facility’ and said that it will not only contribute to the high standard of military training but that it will be essential to the well-being and capability of submariners as they prepare for their all-important work on the submarines. 

DIO’s commitment to HMNB Clyde and the Royal Navy 

 To support the base becoming a centre of excellence of submariners, DIO is investing £1.6bn in total to develop infrastructure at HMNB Clyde. 

The SMERAS demonstrates DIO’s expertise in completing complex and unique projects to enable our Navy to access the most modern training available.  

A sailor in an orange dry suit is standing in a round hatch, holding a metal ladder. The picture is taken from above and only their upper body is visible.
A sailor using a replica of a submarine hatch at the SMERAS facility. [Crown Copyright/MOD 2020]

It also affirms our commitment to support HMNB Clyde in becoming a centre of excellence for submariners. 

DIO is proud to have delivered this world class facility to the Navy.

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  1. Comment by Andy posted on

    Defence Equipment & Support and Babcock Marine Training Ltd also played a pivotal role in providing the training equipment that went into the building, including all of the submarine-specific hardware and training courseware. A great joint effort between multiple agencies.

    • Replies to Andy>

      Comment by DIO Communications Team posted on

      Thanks Andy, great point!

      • Replies to DIO Communications Team>

        Comment by Alex McDonald posted on

        Looking for direction to which part of MoD is responsible for underwater explosions at the (now closed) National Diving Centre in Tidenham? We understand there are further exercises planned under an existing MoD contract.


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