Indian Navy Opens Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle Complex in Visakhapatnam

The Indian Navy has opened the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) Complex in Visakhapatnam on June , the service announced.

The complex was officially inaugurated by Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, PVSM, AVSM, VSM Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Navy’s Eastern Naval Command (ENC).

The DSRV Complex is designed to accommodate the newly inducted Submarine Rescue System (SRS) with state of the art facilities to store the DSRV assets in a Rescue-Ready state.

Indian Navy Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV)
An Indian Navy Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV). (Photo: Indian Navy)

The SRS system consists of a submarine rescue vessel, a Remotely-operated vehicle (ROV), Side Scan Sonar and associated equipment. It also has Diver Decompression Chambers and hyperbaric medical equipment to decompress submariners after being rescued from a sunken submarine. The DSRV system can be rapidly mobilised by air or road to facilitate submarine rescue operations even at distant locations.

The Indian Navy has inducted two such systems which will provide rescue cover to submarines on the West and East coast of India respectively. The system has significantly enhanced the Navy’s submarine rescue capabilities.

Currently, there are about 40 nations that operate submarines in the world out of which only a few have any form of submarine rescue capability. According to the Indian Navy, its third generation submarine rescue capability can, therefore, be called upon to assist during submarine contingencies of other navies in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Indian Navy’s Submarine Rescue System (SRS):

JFD, UK-based subsea operations and manufacturing company and part of James Fisher & Sons, was awarded a £193 million contract in March 2016 to provide two complete third generation fly-away submarine rescue systems to the Indian Navy. The contract also includes a 25-year all-encompassing maintenance support service.

Each submarine rescue system includes a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) – called as Deep Search and Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) by JFD, Launch and Recovery System (LARS) equipment, Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) system, and all logistics and support equipment required to operate the service.

The first DSRV, was delivered in April 2018, is deployed in Mumbai (west coast). In 2018, the first system has completed its first full launch deployment, dive and recovery in open sea, replicating the operating conditions of a real submarine rescue operation. The DSRV also completed its air transportability trials using an Indian Air Force (IAF)’s Ilyushin Il-76 strategic military transport aircraft.

Indian Navy DSRV IL-76
JFD Deep Search and Rescue Vehicle (DSRV), a Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel operated by the Indian Navy, being loaded onboard an Indian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 strategic airlifter during its air transportability trials.

The Indian Navy formally inducted its first DSRV into service at a ceremony in Mumbai, India on the Dec. 12 2018 joining a select league of nations with the capability to search, locate and provide rescue to distressed submarines.

The second DSRV, was delivered to the Navy in December 2018, and is deployed in Vishakhapatnam (east coast).

JFD DSRV - Indian Navy
Indian Navy DSRV trials.

In September 2018, the Indian Navy has 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.

JFD Third Generation Submarine Rescue System (3rd Gen SRS)

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).

The system incorporates 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.

Each submarine rescue system includes a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) – called as Deep Search and Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) by JFD, Launch and Recovery System (LARS) equipment, Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) system, and all logistics and support equipment required to operate the service.

JFD’s 3rd Generation Deep Search and Rescue Vehicle (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.



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