The Indian Navy has formally inducted the first Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) significantly enhancing its submarine rescue capabilities.
The DSRV is built by Scottish underwater capability provider, JFD (part of UK-based James Fisher and Sons plc). JFD was created in 2014 through the merger of James Fisher Defence and Divex, another James Fisher company.
Under the £193m contract, awarded in March 2016, JFD is providing two complete flyaway submarine rescue systems, designated 3rd Generation Submarine Rescue System, to the Indian Navy.
The system includes DSRVs (called as Deep Search and Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) by JFD), Launch and Recovery Systems (LARS) equipment, Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) systems, and all logistics and support equipment required to operate the service.
The first DSRV was delivered at Mumbai (west coast) in April this year and the second DSRV, slated for Vishakhapatnam, is expected by the year end (east coast). The first vessel has recently completed a first full launch deployment, dive and recovery in open sea, replicating the operating conditions of a real submarine rescue operation.
Following the delivery of the first vessel, JFD deployed a team of 30 expert personnel to India’s west coast to support the mobilisation followed by a period of rigorous sea trials, working in close partnership with the Indian Navy who provided the commercial mothership and associated trials consort vessels. The Indian Navy west coast based rescue team, who will operate the system when in service, were active participants throughout this phase of the trials.
JFD’s 3rd Generation DSRV marks a pioneering step-change in real world submarine rescue capability. It is weight optimised for maximum payload and optimum transportability, and is capable of operating at greater depths than most submarine rescue vehicles. The non-tethered DSRV is capable of effecting submarine rescue upto depths of 650 meters.
The vessel has been specifically designed to optimise speed and manoeuvrability, both crucial factors in conducting a successful rescue operation, and the vehicle has the capability to mate with any submarine, even those that might be subject to inclination on the seabed.
The 3rd Generation Submarine Rescue System has been developed by JFD to maximise the chances of successfully rescuing the crew of a distressed submarine (DISSUB).
It incorporate an innovative new system design and tightly integrated components to ensure time-to-first-rescue (TTFR) – the time measured between system deployment and commencement of the rescue – is minimised. In the event of an accident, this maximises the chances of a successful rescue, which is crucial in protecting the lives of submariners.
Indian Navy has recently signed a contract with state-owned shipbuilder, Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) for construction of two Diving Support Vessels (DSV) capable of operating the DSRVs. 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.