The Indian Navy has announced that it has successfully tested deep-sea rescue techniques using one of its recently acquired Deep-Submergence Rescue Vehicles.

On June 2, the DSRV was carried out into the sea at Vishakhapatanam, for what is called a “live mating” exercise. For the test, the Russian-built INS Sindhudhvaj simulated a submarine in distress, and the DSRV transferred stranded personnel from it to the surface. In this procedure, the rescue vehicle “mates” with the downed submarine using “hatches” through which individuals are transferred.

DSRVs are equipped with sophisticated radar systems and a Remotely Operated Vehicle, an arm-like structure that can be used to clear debris or obstructions, and are designed to dive to greater depths than military submarines. Lighter than normal submarines, they are transported to sea-locations by specially equipped motherships or by heavy-lift aircraft.

India’s need for its own underwater vehicle with such sophisticated rescue capability was felt most after 2013, when an explosion on the INS Sindhurakshak led to the death of 18 personnel.

Following this India signed a contract with UK-based James Fisher Defence worth $269 million in 2016. The two DSRVs purchased were delivered last December.

In December the DSRV went through early trials when it plunged to depths of over 300 feet. In the recent test, it dived to a depth of 666 metres, described by the Indian Navy as a record for the “deepest submergence by a manned vessel” in Indian waters, The Week reported.