THE FIRST of the two non-tethered Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicles (DSRVs) was inducted into the Indian Navy on Wednesday at the western naval dockyard here by the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba.
With this, India joins a select league of navies with the sovereign capability in fly away configuration to search, locate and rescue crew from a disabled submarine.
The second vehicle that is out for delivery, is expected to reach Visakhapatnam soon. It will be operational by April next year, the Navy said.
At the occasion, Admiral Lanba said: “The event marks the culmination of years of focused efforts of the Navy in acquiring niche submarine rescue capability. With these capabilities, the Indian Navy has joined the select league of navies that operate such assets.”
The Indian Navy currently operates conventional submarines of the Sindhughosh, Shishumar, Kalvari classes as well as nuclear powered submarines.
In August, 2013, a massive fire broke out on Sindhurakshak followed by a series of explosions, killing all 18 Navy personnel, including three officers. The 3,000-tonne submarine sank in the South Breakwater in Mumbai’s naval dockyard within hours of the incident.
“The nature of operations undertaken by submarines expose them to high degree of inherent risk. In such an eventuality, traditional methods of search and rescue at sea are ineffective for a disabled submarine. To overcome this capability gap, the Navy has acquired a third generation, advanced Submarine Rescue System considering of a non-tethered DSRV and its associated equipment,” the Navy said.
The vehicles are developed by Scotland-based JFD, a part of James Fisher and Sons Plc In March, 2016. JFD won the contract of 193 million pounds for the supply of two sets of non-tethered DSRV and 25 years of maintenance. Using a third-generation system, the DSRV is considered to be the most advanced system currently in operation globally. It is capable of undertaking rescue from a disabled submarine up to 650 metres depth. The DSRV, which is operated by a crew of three, can rescue 14 personnel from a disabled submarine at a time, the Navy said.