The new generation submarine escape system


The existence of the HABETaS project was announced during the SubCon2003 conference in Kiel.

It is now 16 years on from the start of the project.

In June 2009 after more than 6 years of progressive development the project announced its launch customer. The Royal Netherlands Navy had selected HABETaS as the new generation equipment to retrofit its Walrus class submarines.

In 2014 the outfitting of the final Walrus class submarine with HABETaS reached completion.

HABETas has been extensively trialled and in May 2012 open water ESCAPEX trials were conducted from HNLMS Zeeleeuw in Norwegian waters.

Development continues. More information was made available at the Industry Reception SMERWG Amsterdam June 2013.

HABETaS is now being fitted to newbuild submarines for a number of navies.

HABETaS is a joint venture programme shared between three European companies.


a world leading submarine designer and builder based in Kiel, Germany.

HDW is now part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS)


a highly innovative underwater engineering systems development company based in Gosport, UK.

BFA Augsburg

a world leading manufacturer of marine safety equipment based in Augsburg, Germany.

BFA was acquired by the Survitec group, a multinational organisation based in the UK which specialises in survival equipment. The BFA activities and products have now been merged into Survitec's DSB operation in Eschershausen Germany and the RFD Beaufort operation in Birkenhead UK.


Testing History

The HABETaS project has now completed the test and proving stages in development.

The initial tests were carried out in the Submarine Escape Similator (SES) at QinetiQ Alverstoke in the United Kingdom.

The picture to the right above shows the HABETaS SPES and gas systems inside a tower mockup inside the SES.

HABETaS equipment components have been tested in the SES for simulated escapes to depths greater than 550 metres. The object of this testing was to verify the HABETaS equipment is capable of performing significantly deeper than the limits set by survival of the human body.

The concept of HABETaS has been derived looking to the future. The reserves in performance mean the system is poised ready to exploit advances in physiological research for many years to come.

The next tests were carried out at the Royal Navy SETT in Gosport UK. These tests qualified the suit for manned use.

Final testing in a test tower that modelled the HDW 209 class was carried out at the Kockums shipyard test facility in Malmoe Sweden.

A permanent test facility has now been established at the TKMS HDW shipyard in Kiel where the necessary work can be carried out to configure HABETaS to operate in any new submarine escape towers.

Following completion of these tests HABETaS is now available for sale to the world's submarine operating navies.

HABETaS is a complete fully integrated system comprised of :-

• a new escape tower design

• a new advanced tower operation management system

• the new enhanced SPES submarine escape garments

Installation can be made at newbuild or during a major refit. When a submarine is already equipped with a suitable tower then it may be possible for the installation to be carried out without dry docking.

Escape for the Future









More information:

New HABETaS Leaflet (.pdf)

Original HABETaS Leaflet (.pdf)













HABETaS Launch Customer


HABETaS in SES Alverstoke

HABETaS in Malmoe

HABETaS in Malmoe

HABETaS in Malmoe


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