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Deep Sea Submarine Rescue System Inducted into the Indian Navy at Mumbai

Post by Admin,Dec 18,2018.

The Indian Navy has inducted the first state-of-the-art 'Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV)' into the Indian Navy at the western naval dockyard, Mumbai.

  • The DSRV is a third-generation system, considered to be the most advanced system currently in operation globally.
  • The vehicle, operated by a crew of three members, is capable of undertaking rescue from a disabled submarine up to 650 meters depth. It can rescue 14 personnel from a disabled submarine at a time.
  • The vessel has a Side Scan Sonar (SSS) for locating the exact position of a submarine in distress at sea to provide immediate relief by way of posting Emergency Life Support Containers with the help of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and then rescue the crew using the DSRV.
  • The vehicles are developed by Scotland-based JFD, a part of James Fisher and Sons Plc inMarch 2016.
  • JFD is the world leading underwater capability provider, serving the commercial and defense markets with submarine and hyperbaric rescue, innovative diving, technical solutions, and services.
  • It won the contract of 193 million pounds for the supply of two sets of non-tethered DSRV and 25 years of maintenance.
  • At present, the vehicle is deployed on mothership INS Sabarmati, provided by the Shipping Corporation of India, which will be placed in Mumbai.
  • The Indian Navy had signed the Rs 2000 crore contract in March 2016 to procure the DSRVs from the UK-based Messrs James Fisher Defense (JFD).
  • It was the first of the two non-tethered Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicles (DSRVs).
  • The Navy is in the process of acquiring one more soon to deploy the vessels permanently at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam.
  • While the first DSRV will be based in Mumbai, another one will be inducted in a few months and will be based in Vishakhapatnam.
  • At present, the Indian Navy operates conventional submarines of the Sindhughosh, Shishumar, Kalvari classes along with nuclear-powered submarines.

Sindhu Ghosh Class Submarines:

  • They are the Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines. They are designated 877EKM and were built under a contract between Rosvooruzhenie and the Ministry of Defence (India).
  • The submarines have a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, maximum diving depth of 300 meters, top speed of 18 knots, and can operate solo for 45 days with a crew of 53.

Shishumar Class Vessels:

  • The Shishumar class vessels (Type 1500) are diesel-electric submarines. These submarines are developed by the German yard Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW).
  • The first two of these vessels were built by HDW at Kiel, while the remainder has been built at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) Mumbai.
  • The ships were commissioned between 1986 and 1994.
  • These submarines have a displacement of 1660 tons when surfaced, a speed of 22 knots (41 km/h), and a complement of 40 including eight officers. The submarines have the provision of an IKL-designed escape system.

INS Kalvari

  • INS Kalvari is the first of the 6 Scorpene class submarines built under “Project 75”.The Submarine was commissioned in 2017.


  • The nature of operations undertaken by submarines expose them to a high degree of inherent risk, where in case of such an eventuality, traditional methods of rescue are ineffective for a disabled submarine.
  • A need was felt as early as the 1980s to induct a dedicated, non-tethered DSRV to match the growing reach and depth of submarines and to provide safety to Navy personnel.
  • In 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.
  • In order to overcome this capability gap of traditional methods, the Indian Navy has acquired the non-tethered DSRV and its associated equipment.


  • Enhancing Capabilities: The DSRV’s acquisition is a significant and pioneering jump in the Indian Navy's capability in deep submarine rescue.
  • Joining the League: India has now joined a league of navies, with the sovereign capability in fly away configuration to search, locate and rescue crew from a disabled submarine, after the acquisition of the system. So far, only countries such as the United States (US), Russia, China, UK, and Singapore have the Deep-Sea Rescue Systems in place.

DSRV was the part of the Indian Navy’s efforts to enhance operational capabilities when China has been ramping up its marine presence in critical sea lanes which are of strategic importance to the country. In the event of an accident, the vessel maximizes the chances of a successful rescue, which is crucial in protecting the lives of submariners. The third-generation system represents a step-change in real-world submarine rescue capability and has been specifically designed to provide a comprehensive and highly capable submarine rescue service while ensuring the system is as quick and simple to mobilize as possible to maximize the chances of a successful rescue.