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The Indian Navy on October 13, 2018 inducted its first Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) at its base in Mumbai, enhancing its operational capabilities. The second DSRV would be added to its base in Vishakhapatnam by 2019.

With the move, India joined a select list of international navies with the ability to search, locate and provide assistance to downed or disaster-struck submarines at high sea.

Key Highlights

  • The DSRV can reportedly be deployed at short notice for providing assistance to submarines in distress. 
  • The rescue vessel, complete with an associated kit in fly away configuration, can be crucial in quickly locating submarines through the vast expanse of sea and can be mobilised by air and water for rapid rescue.
  • Some DSRV vessels are air transportable in very large military cargo
  • The DSRV that was inducted by India can be mobilised from the naval base in Mumbai to nearest mounting port by air, land and sea.
  • The second DSRV is expected to be inducted at Visakhapatnam in 2019.


  • The vessels have played a significant role in saving lives as well as submarines during emergencies.
  • Most of these are capable of rescuing 24 people at depths of up to 600m in one go.

Besides for rescue operation, the vessels are also deployed for various other missions including to lay cables on the sea bed.

Which countries presently have DSRVs?

The countries that currently have DSRVs in their naval fleet include Singapore, United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, UK, Sweden and Australia. 
Each of these countries have their own version of DSRVs based on their specific needs and the requirements of their respective naval fleets.

The induction of the DSRV is a part of the Indian Navy’s efforts to enhance its operational capabilities, at a time when China is ramping up its maritime presence in critical sea lanes that are of strategic importance to India.

Last year, the Indian Navy operationalized a new concept of deployment of warships in the Indian Ocean region to effectively counter China’s growing presence in the strategically key waters.

The “new mission-based deployment” involves deploying mission-ready ships and aircraft along critical sea lanes of communications.

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