Indian Navy sends DSRV to assist Indonesian Navy in search of missing submarine

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

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

“On April 21, an Indian Ship was alerted through the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office (ISMERLO), regarding a missing Indonesian submarine. The submarine was said to be operating at a location 25 miles North of Bali with a crew of 53 personnel, ”the navy said in a statement.

The DSRV left offshore and has to cover a distance of about 2,500 nautical miles, a Navy official said. Consultations have taken place between senior Ministry of Defense officials in India and Indonesia, it has been learned.

Air Chief Marhal Hadi Tjahjanto, Commander of Indonesia’s armed forces, had said that KRI Nanggala 402 was engaged in a torpedo firing exercise when he went missing and is believed to have disappeared about 60 miles north of Bali. The Indonesian Defense Ministry said the submarine had lost contact after being allowed to dive.

The Indonesian Navy launched a massive search and rescue effort for the lost submarine and also sought assistance from countries in the region that had the ability to save a submarine. The missing personnel include 49 crew members, three gunners and his commander. The German-built submarine had been in service with the Indonesian Navy since 1981 and completed a two-year renewal in South Korea in 2012.

India is among the few countries in the world that can Search and Rescue a disabled submarine through DSRV, the Navy said. “The Indian Navy DSRV system can locate a submarine up to 1000 m depth using its state-of-the-art Side Scan Sonar (SSS) and Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV),” he added, adding ‘ The submarine is successfully deployed, another sub-module of DSRV – the Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV) – matches up with the submarine to rescue the captured personnel. The SRV can also be used to provide emergency supplies to the submarine.

File photo of the DSRV.

Under the framework of the comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Indonesia, the Indian Navy and Indonesia have been practicing regularly and deepening cooperation in recent years.

Australian Aid

The Singapore Navy has already pressed its lifeboat while Australia has also offered assistance.

“MV Swift Rescue RSN – our submarine rescue vessel – was sent quickly yesterday afternoon, as fast as he could prepare, after our Navy Commander received a request for assistance from his Indonesian counterpart. A medical team was also added to the regular crew should hyperbaric care be needed, ”Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said 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 as quickly as it could, Mr Ng said in a Facebook post.

DSRV Indian

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

Indian DSRV, supplied by James Fisher Defense, UK, is the latest in technology and capabilities, said one official.

SCI Sabarmati, DSRV maternity.