SubSafe is an experimental interactive 3D spatial awareness training tool, designed to investigate the replacement of legacy training media in use by Royal Navy submarine qualification (SMQ) instructors.
Navigating the decks and compartments in a “first-person” mouse-and-keyboard game style, SMQ trainees had access to all decks forward of the control room, comprising over 30 compartments and 500 different objects – including fire extinguishers, hose units, high-pressure air valves, and emergency breathing system masks.
A statistical analysis of knowledge transfer data, collated following a year of experimental trials with the RN’s Submarine School, revealed that use of SubSafe during classroom training significantly improved the final “walkthrough” examination scores of trainees onboard an actual submarine.
Interest in SubSafe has stimulated similar developments for the international submarine community, including virtual walkthroughs for the UK’s Astute Class, the Canadian Victoria Class and the Australian Collins Class. Digital SubSafe assets were also re-used to develop a 3D animation of the March 2007 HMS Tireless Self-Contained Oxygen Generator explosion incident for the Coroner’s Court of Inquiry.
The Human Factors principles and design processes adopted for SubSafe are now being exploited as part of the RN’s Successor submarine programmes.
SubSafe “Spin-Out” Projects
Since the completion of the SubSafe project, other future vessel and naval system developers have commissioned small concept demonstrations, from submarine abandonment and rescue to early deck layout concepts for future surface combatants, such as the RN’s Type 26.