September 26, 2018 – A contract was signed by the Indian Navy with Hindustan Shipyard Limited, Vishakhapatnam, on 20 Sep 18 for construction of two Diving Support Vessels (DSV) to augment the Indian Navy’s submarine support operations on either coast.
The first vessel to be built over a 36 month period would be followed by the second, six months later. The vessels to be based at Vishakhapatnam and Mumbai respectively, would be of 118 m in length and of approximately 7,650 T displacement.
In addition to operating submarines to secure our waters, the Indian Navy 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 durations, 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 its 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 M/s James Fisher Defence, UK in Mar 16. The first DSRV was delivered at Mumbai in Apr 18 and the second DSRV slated for Vishakhapatnam is expected by end Dec 18.
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.