Deep Sea Submergence Rescue Vehicle Inducted into Indian Navy

Indian Navy’s first flyaway Deep Sea Submarine Rescue System, the most advanced system currently in operation globally, developed to maximise the chances of successfully rescuing the crew of a distressed submarine, was formally inducted by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff, at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on Wednesday 12 December 2018 .Acquisition of this capability is a significant and pioneering jump in the Indian Navy’s capability in deep submarine rescue as it now  joins a select League of Nations worldwide with the sovereign capability, in fly away configuration, to search, locate and rescue crew from a disabled Submarine.

“The induction of the DSRV marks the culmination of years of effort of the Indian Navy in acquiring this niche submarine rescue capability”, said Admiral Sunil Lanba describing it as a landmark event.

  • Indian Navy currently operates submarines of the Sindhughosh, Shishumar, Kalvari Classes as well as nuclear powered submarines.
  • Operating medium and the nature of operations undertaken by submarines expose them to high degree of inherent risk.
  • Traditional methods of search and rescue at sea are ineffective for a disabled submarine in such an eventuality.
  • A third generation Advanced Submarine Rescue System consisting of a Non-tethered Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) and its associated equipment has been acquired by Indian Navy to overcome this capability gap.
  • DSRV is used to rescue crew members from submarines stranded under water in the high seas.
  • DSRV is capable of undertaking rescue from a disabled Submarine upto 650 m depth.
  • DSRV operated by a crew of three can rescue 14 personnel from a disabled Submarine at one time and can operate in extreme sea conditions, upto Sea State 6.
  • Deep Sea rescue system would have a global footprint and can be mobilised from the Naval Base at Mumbai to the nearest mobilisation port by air/land or sea to provide rapid rescue to the Submarines in distress.
  • This newly acquired capability would be operated and deployed by the crew of Indian Navy’s newly formed Submarine Rescue Unit (West) from its base in Mumbai.

Two third-generation deep search and rescue vehicle (DSRV) systems that include launch and recovery systems equipment, “transfer under pressure” systems, and all logistics and support equipment required to operate the DSRVs, are to be delivered under a £193-million contract awarded in March 2016 to James Fisher and Sons (JFD) a Scotland-based company, delivering unparalleled expertise and innovative solutions a leading underwater capability provider.

The initial harbour acceptance trials of the first DSRV were undertaken at Glasgow’s King George V dock in Scotland and the system has been comprehensively tested in a variety of conditions.  A total of 72 Indian Navy personnel have also been trained by JFD at a facility in Scotland to operate the vessels.

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