Indian Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV)system consists of a Submarine Rescue Vessel, a Remote Operations Vehicle, Side Scan Sonar and associated equipment

KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a torpedo firing exercise when it went missing and is believed to have disappeared about 60 miles north of Bali

The Indian Navy on Thursday dispatched its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) from Visakhapatnam to support the Indonesian Navy in search and rescue efforts for its submarine KRI Nanggala that went missing on Wednesday with 53 onboard.

The DSRV departed by sea and has to cover a distance of approximately 2,500 nautical miles, a Navy official said. Consultations are on between senior Defence Ministry officials of India and Indonesia, it has been learnt.

Air Chief Marhal Hadi Tjahjanto, Commander of Indonesian armed forces, had said that KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a torpedo firing exercise when it went missing and is believed to have disappeared about 60 miles north of Bali. The Indonesian Defence Ministry said the submarine lost contact after being granted clearance to dive.

Indonesian Navy launched a massive search and rescue effort for the missing submarine and also requested assistance from countries in the region which had submarine rescue capability. The missing personnel comprises of 49 crew members, three gunners and its commander. The German-built submarine was in service with the Indonesian Navy since 1981.

Indian DSRV

Indian Navy acquired the DSRV, a critical capability for submarine rescue, in December 2018 and has since deployed two DSRVs at Mumbai and Visakhapatnam on the West and East coast respectively to provide redundancy, operational availability and early response to deal with any submarine contingency.

The Indian DSRV, supplied by James Fishes Defence, U.K., is the latest in terms of technology and capabilities, one official said. Live undersea mating with different types of submarines along with transfer of personnel from submarine to DSRV has also been achieved, thereby simulating the submarine rescue, the official stated.

The system has a side scan sonar for locating the position of the submarine in distress at sea, providing immediate relief by way of posting emergency life support containers with the help of Remotely Operated Vehicle and thereafter rescuing the crew of the submarine using the DSRV itself, the official explained.

Australian Assistance

Singapore Navy has already pressed its rescue vessel while Australia too has offered assistance.

“RSN’s MV Swift Rescue – our submarine rescue vessel – was dispatched expeditiously yesterday afternoon, as fast as she could get ready, after our Navy Chief received a request for assistance from his Indonesian counterpart. A medical team was also added to the regular crew in the event that hyperbaric care would be needed,” said Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Twitter.

The site for search operations, near Bali, is more than 1,500 km away and waters are deep, which is why MV Swift Rescue sailed off as soon as she could, Mr. Ng said in a Facebook post.