Egyptian Navy Damage Control and Live Fire Fighting Training Facility

The International Fleet Support Program Office (PMS 326) in conjunction with support contractor BAV Division of VSE Corporation, designed and constructed a new Damage Control and Live Fire Fighting Training Facility for the Egyptian Navy. The facility was recently dedicated on 27 March 2007 and was the result of the Egyptian Navy’s CnC, Vice Admiral Tamer’s vision to upgrade and revamp the Egyptian Navy’s training program.

The training facility was built on a 3.5 acre site and consists of a live fire fighting trainer, two story damage control flooding simulator, helicopter fire fighting training pad, fully networked classroom building, an above ground water tank, utility building housing student changing facility, SCBA repair facility, and fuel storage tank. The $6.8 M facility took twelve months to construct.

Live Fire Fighting Trainer

The Live Fire Fighting Trainer is a full scale mock-up of sections of a ship used to train sailors in extinguishing shipboard Class A and B fires. It can also be used to train land based community fire fighters in the general method of extinguishing Class A and Class B fires. It is designed to be an unoccupied structure, except during training exercises.

Physical Characteristics

The Live Fire Fighting Trainer was constructed to simulate certain features of an FFG-7 Frigate. It consists of a low section representing berthing, messing and other compartments on a ship that is used to train on class a fires, and a high section, which simulates two levels of the engine room of a ship, that is used to train on Class B fires. It is a steel structure approximately 132 ft. (40.3 m) in length by 50 feet (15.25 m) in width by 18 ft. 5 in. (5.6 m) high.

The low section is approximately 92 ft (28.0 m) in length by 50 ft (15.24 m) wide by 9 ft 8 in (2.9 m) high. It contains a centerline passageway, galley, berthing compartment, and a third compartment that can be configured to represent other spaces found on a ship. There are three burn areas in the low section, one in each compartment, that are used to simulate Class A fires. Below each burn hearth is a recessed section in the concrete floor that contains a drain. Firebricks are placed loose in the recess to permit drainage. The low section is equipped with ventilators for removing smoke. The ventilators have butterfly dampers for controlling exhaust gases. Metal closure plates are installed over the scuppers and are used to control the supply of combustion air.

The high section is approximately 40 ft (12.0 m) in length by 50 ft (15.24 m) wide by 18 ft 5 in (5.6 m) high. The high section simulates the upper and lower levels of a ship’s engine room and will be used for training on extinguishing class B fires. The two levels are separated by a solid deck (unlike a ship). All training fires use diesel oil placed in burn trays located below the walking deck grates on the lower level. Personnel transit between the upper and lower levels is through a standard US Navy watertight deck hatch. An escape trunk is also installed from the lower level to the upper level, enabling students to exercise vertical access techniques. A jib crane is located above a large door on the south side of the trainer to facilitate the installation and removal of engine room equipment or other training mock-ups.

Smoke and hot gases from the lower engine room will rise and exit through the watertight hatch to the upper level and then rise to the stack. It is expected that fire fighting teams entering the upper level will immediately encounter smoke. The watertight hatch may be closed at the initiation of the fire to control smoke in the lower level but it should be opened soon thereafter.

A smoke stack is installed above the engine room upper level to exhaust smoke using natural ventilation. The smoke stack contains dampers to control the smoke flow and the amount of smoke accumulation in the engine room during a training exercise. Also in the stack is a water spray smoke suppression system to remove solid particles from the smoke. Water, from the smoke suppression system, drains into the upper level of the engine room. That space is washed down with a fire hose following each training session.

The piping system for the trainer provides water to the fire stations, an exterior bulkhead water spray cooling system and a smoke suppression system. Water from the Site Trainer Water System enters the valve chamber adjacent to the trainer and is separated into five primary lines. Three of these lines feed the exterior sprinkling system and two feed the fire stations.

There are eight fire stations labeled A through H and each fire station has three hose connections, two 2.5 inch and one 1.5 inch.

The exterior bulkhead water spray system sprays the outside of the structure in the areas where the training fires are conducted. The three supply lines each have a stop valve located on the exterior of the trainer at ground level. One line cools the steel bulkhead at Burn Area #1, the second at Burn Area #2, and the third cools the exterior bulkhead around the engine room. Each sprinkler system line contains a strainer to remove foreign materials that may clog the spray nozzles.

The smoke suppression system is located in the stack above the engine room. It is operated from a valve located adjacent to the smoke stack.

The burn areas in the building have been lined with special tiles to protect the steel structure. The tiles can withstand the heat of fire followed by the application of fire fighting water without degradation.

Water used in the trainer collects in a drain trough around the periphery of the trainer on the outer edge of the walkway. Fire fighting water in the low section drains over sloped floors through scuppers to this trough. The drains under the burn heath areas drain to this trough. Water from the exterior sprinkler system also drains to the trough. Water collected in the drain trough passes through a straining grate before being directed away from the trainer.

Water from inside the engine room, including the escape trunk, drains to the oily water separator tank located below the oily waste separator. After the oily water passes through the separator the oily waste is directed to the oily waste collecting tank and the clean water drains to sea.

The trainer has been designed and constructed without any electrical power or cables, and without any combustible materials. Simplicity of design and function were key considerations in its construction, to ensure a minimum of 20 years service.

A fuel spigot is located beside the main valve chamber and provides the source of diesel fuel for class B fires. A measured amount of fuel is transported to the burn trays in a closed metal container; this ensures there is no pressurized fuel supply piping inside the trainer.

Principle of Operation

The amount of fuel placed in the burn hearth or burn trays is controlled to limit the fire’s duration to twenty minutes. The amount of fuel required for a twenty minute burn was determined by thermodynamic computer modeling, followed by a live testing phase at the end of construction.

Class A training fires are ignited in the low section using wooden pallets and straw in one of three burn cribs. The air supply to fires in the low section is controlled by opening or closing covers on the drain scuppers. Smoke exhausts by natural ventilation through ventilators in the roof. The center passageway is used to stage the fire party before entering any of the three compartments. The fire party can also enter the low section through one of three standard navy water tight doors located on the exterior of the trainer.

The three burn areas in the low section each have a four inch drain line embedded in the concrete floor with a straight run to the trough outside. There is nothing installed in the lines to prevent the backflow of supply air through these drains. If the backflow becomes a problem plugs can be put in either end of the drain line or the outlet can be covered with a leather flap.

Class B fires are ignited in the engine room using diesel oil placed in burn trays located in the lower level below the lower level deck grating. The burn trays can be relocated throughout the engine room and placed anywhere below the grating. Air supply to engine room fires is controlled by opening watertight doors on the lower level. Smoke from the fire is controlled by a damper system located in the smoke stack. The fire fighting team can enter the space from the center passageway in the lower section or from a staging area on the upper deck above the lower section into the upper level of the engine room. From the upper level the fire fighting team can approach the fire through a standard navy water tight deck hatch or through the vertical escape trunk. The lower level can also be entered through one of three watertight doors located on the exterior of the trainer.

The expended fire fighting water in the engine room drains though a six inch line to the oily waste separator collecting tank. Its discharge is two meters above the bottom of the tank and is above sea water level. There is no other source of air for fires in the engine room unless a door on the lower level is opened.

The escape trunk drains to the engine room sump. If the upper hatch is shut there will be no air inflow through this drain. If the fire team enters through the upper hatch there will be inflow until the lower escape trunk hatch is opened.

Upon initialization of a training fire, the exterior water spray for that section is turned on to cool the exterior steel. In the lower section, water is also applied on the roof over the burn area by opening a valve in the fire station located there or by using a fire hose. In the high section water to the smoke suppression system in the smoke stack is turned on for class B fires.

Damage Control Trainer

The Damage Control Trainer provides a full size mock-up simulating a ship’s interior below the waterline for training students on the techniques for controlling flooding. The trainer can be completely filled with water and also used to train divers.

Physical Characteristics

The Damage Control Trainer is a steel structure 16 meters long by 8.7 meters wide by 5.7 meters high including the exterior walking decks but excluding the handrails and jib crane mounted on the top. The trainer is a two level, fully enclosed tank with a floodable volume that measures 10.2 meters long by 5.4 meters wide by 5.7 meters high. The lower level has no external access except through an emergency hatch located at one end. The upper level can be entered through water tight hatches on either end, or through a watertight hatch installed in the top of the trainer. There is a standard US Navy rectangular deck hatch, which provides the primary access from the upper level to the lower level, and there is also a flush deck emergency escape scuttle.

The trainer is mounted on seven pillars 2.2 meters above the floor of the Enclosure Building to allow space for pipes and to permit access for maintenance.

Exterior steel ladders on both ends and fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) walkways provide access to the exterior of the trainer on both levels and to the top.

Various coamings are installed to prevent spilled water from reaching electrical equipment.

Four large view ports are installed on each level on the front and back sides of the trainer to permit student actions to be observed by instructors. Smaller view ports are installed above the large windows and exterior lights are mounted to shine light through them into the trainer. A small view port is installed on each level on each end to permit the mounting of a video camera to observe student actions within the trainer.

A jib crane is mounted on the top of the trainer to permit the loading or unloading of damage control shoring materials, mock-ups and other items into the trainer through the hatch located on the top of the trainer and the interior hatch. The decking on the outside of the trainer in the vicinity of the jib crane can be removed to allow vertical lifts.

An emergency hatch on the lower level is installed to permit the removal of injured personnel from the lower level on a stretcher to avoid the necessity of moving him through the hatch to the upper level. The emergency hatch opens outward and can be opened with the trainer full of water, although this is not recommended.

A control station is located on one side of the lower level where the operator can control the flow of water to any of the training events by opening and closing various valves. The operator can view student activities on the lower level through the view ports or via a video monitor. A loudspeaker system is installed to permit one way communications from the control station.

There are no electrical cables or equipment located inside of the trainer. However, lights, communication equipment and power outlet receptacles for the submersible pump are mounted on the exterior of the trainer.

The trainer is also designed to support flooding both levels completely. Access via the hatch atop the trainer and associated jib crane can provide lift of diving equipment and access to the flooded interior for diving and salvage training.


Principle of Operation

The piping system allows student training on nine specific events:

  1. Damaged Bulkhead #1: Located 5 feet above the bottom deck the damage consists of a 6 inch jagged hole. Training water is supplied through a 6 inch pipe and a steel box located exterior to the trainer.
  2. Damaged Bulkhead #2: Located 4 feet above the middle deck the damage consists of an 8 inch diameter hole with 6 inch and 4 inch bolt-on adaptor plates to reduce the hole diameter for various training scenarios. Training water is supplied through a 6 inch pipe and a steel box located exterior to the trainer.
  3. Sprung Hatch: Located on the bottom deck a standard navy watertight hatch is installed with the coming welded to the inner deck of the trainer. The hatch is sprung in a manner that prevents making a watertight seal. Training water is supplied through a 6 inch pipe inside the coming.
  4. Cracked piping: Located 5 feet above the middle deck the damage consists of a 6 inch by ½ inch split seam resembling a thick lip rupture. Training water is supplied through a 6 inch pipe reduced to 4 inch inside the trainer. The 4 inch pipe contains a dummy gate valve that has been installed without a gate.
  5. Sprung flange: Located 4 feet above the middle deck the damage consists of a 2.5 inch damaged flange. Training water is supplied through a 2.5 inch pipe to the damaged piping. The 2.5 inch pipe contains a dummy gate valve that has been installed without a gate.
  6. Dewatering: Located 3 feet above the middle deck the event is conducted using a standard US Navy submersible pump that discharges to a 4 inch to 2 ½ inch standard US Navy overboard discharge connection. Power for the submersible pump is obtained from an outlet outside one of the watertight doors on the upper level. Discharged water is piped to the trainer drain system.
    1. Installed eductor operation: A standard US Navy 500 gpm Peri-jet eductor is installed on the bottom level with the suction pipe 6 inches below the trainer bottom deck in a steel box. Training water is supplied to the eductor through a 3 inch pipe equipped with a 2.5 inch reducer. Discharged water is piped to the trainer drain system.
    2. Portable eductor operation: A portable US Navy 500 gpm Peri-jet eductor can be used on the middle level. Training water is supplied to the eductor through a 3 inch pipe equipped with a 2.5 inch reducer. The discharge of the eductor is connected to a connection located outside the trainer.
  7. Cracked bulkhead: Located 4 feet above the bottom deck. Damage consists of a 12 inch by 1 inch split/crack flush with the internal surface of the trainer. Training water is supplied through a 6 inch pipe and a steel box located exterior to the trainer.

Water to the trainer is provided by the Fire and Training Water System to the main header located under the control station at a nominal pressure of 125 psi, which represents the pressure in a ship’s fire main. Water to each of the training events is controlled by valves and the downstream pressure is monitored by gages. For events related to flooding from sea pressure reducers are installed to lower the pressure to a minimum of 5 psi. A constant vent valve is installed on the main header to prevent accumulation of a large air pocket.

Upon completion of an event two drain valves are opened and water from the trainer drains through four deck drains to the ground level water storage tank.

Because the water from the Damage Control Trainer is re-used all water from the Fire Fighting and Training Water System is not considered drinkable.

Three phases, 60 Hz power for the submersible pump is available at a special receptacle mounted on the exterior adjacent to one of the two watertight hatches on the upper level.

Enclosure Building

The Enclosure Building is a steel structure to protect the Damage Control Trainer from the elements. It also provides space for on-the-spot assembly and instruction to students.

Physical Characteristics

The Enclosure Building is 24 meters long by 15.45 meters wide by 11.5 meters high. It is built on a steel frame with insulated panels for siding and roof. The roof of the building is sloped 30 cm from the high side to the low side to provide drainage. The main entrance is through double swing doors on one side. Two additional large sliding double doors, one at each end, allow entrance of large items. A row of windows high on the sides provide natural light and a row of louvers above them provides natural ventilation.

The Enclosure Building contains electric power for interior lights and outlet receptacles, including external lights and communications systems mounted on the DC Trainer. It also contains a static frequency converter to provide 3 phases, 60 hertz power for the submersible pump used in the Damage Control Trainer.

There is a depression in the rear floor of the building where pipes are located to bring water from the site fire and training water system to and from the damage control trainer.

The complex also consists of the following:

Helicopter Trainer

The Helicopter Trainer is a 15-meter diameter bricked open area that contains a steel 2/3 scale replica of a helicopter. Three large burn pans are located in the center of the pad and contain flammable fuels used to simulate a helicopter fire. When the helicopter is removed training on spilled fuel fires can be accomplished. Adjacent to the pad is a wall that simulates the helicopter hanger onboard a ship. A fire fighting hose station is installed next to the wall and is the source of fire fighting water during training exercises.

Classroom Building

The Classroom Building is a three floor building containing four classrooms, instructor office and supporting facilities. Each of the four classrooms is designed to seat 25 students. The classrooms have conduits installed that allow the installation of a LAN computerized audio-visual training system. Only one classroom will initially be outfitted with computers (owner provided). The three other classrooms may be equipped with computers at a later date. This building is air-conditioned using split A/C units servicing each of the rooms.

Utility Building

The Utility Building contains changing, shower and toilet areas for students who are undergoing training in the Live Fire Fighting and Damage Control trainers. The changing area has 50 full-length lockers for storage of student’s clothing and personal effects while they are in the trainers. The shower and toilet areas are sized for a typical class size of 25 students to shower and change into street clothing at a time and the lockers allow two classes to use the facility at the same time. The Utility Building also has two large industrial size clothes washers and dryers to launder student training outfits on a daily basis. The ventilation system is designed to provide sufficient turnover of air supply in the shower, toilet, and changing rooms.

Electric Building

The Electric Building contains three rooms which house 1000 KVA transformer for converting 11 KV power to 400-231 volts, a diesel generator for providing emergency power to the classroom building and other essential equipment, and a room that contains the main and essential switchboards for distributing power. Electric power for the Training Complex comes from an Alexandria city power 12 KV ring main feeder line. In the event of loss of city power the facility’s emergency/standby diesel generator 400KVA automatically started and powers the vital equipment switchboard.

Trainer Complex Water Supply

The Trainer Complex Water Supply system consists of a ground storage Tank and pumps. The city water system provides the primary source of water for the Trainer Complex. Water from the city goes to a 600 m2 large ground storage tank. Two diesel driven pumps, in an attached concrete and masonry building to the ground storage tank, take suction on the ground storage tank and supply water through 8”pipes to the Damage Control Trainer, the Live Fire Fighting Trainer, and the Helicopter Live Fire Fighting Training Pad. A jockey pump is used to maintain system pressure. When any of the Trainers is used automatic controls will energize the pumps to provide water. The system also supplies water to the fire hydrants.

Domestic Water Supply

The Domestic Water Supply is taken from the existing Naval Base fresh water supply and provides drinkable water. A head tank is located on top of the Classroom Building to accommodate maximum system demand and provide a reserve if electric power is lost.

Site Drainage System


The Site Drainage System includes a recycle feature for the Damage Control Trainer and an oily waste separator to handle contaminated water used on Class B fuel fires.

The Live Fire Fighting Trainer has two different drainage systems. Water from the Class B fire area in the engine room and helicopter pad is sent to the oily waste separator, while water from the Class A fire areas and cooling water sprayed on the building exterior will be drained directly into the site system.

Water used in the Damage Control Trainer is drained back to the ground storage tank and reused.

Storm water runoff from roads drains over the surface to the sea (Abu Quir Bay). The site is graded to direct surface runoff to the ends of the breakwater.

Waste water from the Classroom and Utility Buildings is collected and directed to the existing base sanitation system. The Site Contractor constructed one sanitary pump lift station and has rebuilt another in an off-site location.

The oily waste separator collects used water from the class B fires in the fire fighting trainer and on the helo pad. The clean water from the separator is directed into the facility system, while the oily waste is collected for disposal by truck.

Excess water in the ground storage tank overflows to the surface and drains into Abu Quir Bay.

Fuel System

The Fuel System consists of a main fuel tank, unloading fuel pump, gauges, valves and pipes. A gravity distribution system delivers fuel to day tanks located at the pump house and electric building and to a nozzle at the Helo pad.


The shared vision of the Egyptian Navy and PMS 326 has resulted in the construction and staffing of this facility. This facility is one element of a larger planned training Center of Excellence complex that will focus on basic skills training all the way up through mid-level and advanced curriculums for both officer and enlisted personnel of the Egyptian Navy.

The next phase of the Center of Excellence (CE) will contain a Curriculum Development Center, which will provide computer based training development, curriculum management systems, local area network management center, 3D graphics development, curriculum development training, computerized classrooms and video teleconferencing capability.

The follow on phases will encompass an enhanced Basic Skills training for Egyptian navy enlisted to include; English Language, Mathematics, Computer Use, Science, General Mechanical Remediation, General Electrical Remediation, supported by use of computerized classrooms. Also included in the follow on phase planning is Advanced Skills training for Egyptian Navy enlisted/officers. This training will include advanced systems operations, maintenance, troubleshooting and repair supported through with use of modern training techniques, theories/practices and state of the art equipment. The Egyptian navy with support of the US Navy is moving forward at a measured pace into a future filled modernize training environment.