Indian Navy has signed a contract with the state-owned Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) for construction of two Diving Support Vessels (DSV), on Sept. 20.
The new vessels will augment the Navy’s submarine support operations on the country’s east and west coast. HSL, which was transferred from the Indian Ministry of Shipping to the Ministry of Defence in 2010, is located in Visakhapatnam.
The first vessel will be built over a 36-month period and would be followed by the second, six months later. Once constructed, the DSVs will have a length of 118 m and a displacement of approximately 7,650 tonnes.
One DSV vessel will be homeported in Mumbai (west coast) while the other will be based in Visakhapatnam (east coast).
In addition to operating submarines to secure its waters, the Indian Navy also undertakes diving operations in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). This necessitates extensive diving operations to facilitate various activities such as submarine rescue, under water inspection, testing or salvage, and recovery of objects/ship aircraft lost at sea. As these activities involve diving operations with divers remaining underwater for prolonged duration, it requires a suitable platform for their launch and recovery, as well as for carriage of related tools and equipment.
The DSV is also equipped with a Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV), which significantly enhances the Navy’s Submarine Rescue Capabilities.
Contract for procurement of two sets of non-tethered DSRV, capable of effecting submarine rescue upto depths of 650 meters has been concluded with James Fisher Defence (JFD), UK in March 2016. The first DSRV was delivered at Mumbai in April this year and the second DSRV, slated for Vishakhapatnam, is expected by the year end.
While a submarine is a significant strategic asset, it is also vulnerable to action damage, requiring extensive diving for undertaking Search and Rescue (SAR) operations that demand the availability of a credible and suitably equipped platform. Induction of DSVs equipped with DSRV, would go a long way in enhancing the Indian Navy’s capability and reach of submarine rescue operations in the IOR.