Within the total submarine system, the life support system assumes a position which is equal in importance to the propulsion, weapons, and navigation systems. Without an efficient and reliable life support system, the other ship systems and the personnel who operate and maintain them cannot function to their full capabilities during extended periods of submergence.
As a result of new requirements, new technology, and poor fleet performance, the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has developed new life support equipment that improves reliability, safety, operability, and capability. NAVSEA has developed, prototyped, successfully tested, and placed into production a new atmosphere analyzer and a new oxygen generator.
This paper will address the US Navy's life support system design parameters, an overview of existing life support system, reasons for change, concept development and testing of new equipment, transition to production, and production and fleet implementation.