Deep-submergence rescue vehicle

A deep-submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) is a type of deep-submergence vehicle used for rescue of downed submarines and clandestine missions. While DSRV is the term most often used by the United States Navy, other nations have different designations for their vehicles.

The US Navy's DSRV-1 Mystic docked to a Los Angeles-class attack submarine

List of deep submergence rescue vehicles

Australian models

ASRV Remora ("Really Excellent Method Of Rescuing Aussies") was the Australian navy's DSRV. It is based on a diving bell design.

Chinese models

Submarine Rescue Exercise at RIMPAC 160713-N-GW536-005
An LR-7 being retrieved by The Chinese navy submarine rescue ship Changdao

The People's Republic of China has three Type 925 Dajiang class and three Type 926 class. Each ship is equipped with either two Type 7103 DSRV or one LR7 manned submersible undersea rescue vehicle.

European models

France, Norway and the UK share the NATO Submarine Rescue System programme.

The Swedish Navy operates the submarine rescue ship HSwMS Belos which can carry the Swedish submarine rescue vessel URF (Swedish: Ubåtsräddningsfarkost) as well as the British LR5.

Italian models

US Navy 050628-N-1464F-001 The Italian submarine rescue vehicle SRV-300 is launched from the Italian salvage ship Anteo
The Italian Navy rescue vehicle SRV-300 launched from the Italian salvage ship Anteo'[1]

Italy operates Anteo, equipped with the SRV-300 submersible in a submarine rescue role [2]

  • The SRV-300, built by Drass-Galeazzi, was delivered in 1999 and can operate up to 300 m (984 ft) depth, hosting 12 persons in the rescue compartment. The submarine, modified as deployable in 2010 (and maybe updated for operations up to 450 m, 1,476 ft depth), operates from the mother ship Anteo.
  • SRV-300 replaced MSM-1S/USEL, which was built by Cantieri Navali Breda (Venezia), launched on 11 November 1978, 13.2 t displacement,fitting 10 persons in the rescue compartment.
  • SRV-300 will be replaced by a new version under development, the DRASS Galeazzi SRV-650 with a maximum depth of 650 m (2,133 ft) and with an hosting capability of 15 persons in the rescue compartment, developed for operations from the new Italian future mother ship ARS / USSP .[3]

Indian models

Indian Navy conducts maiden trials of its first Deep-submergence rescue vehicle (5)
Indian Navy DSRV launched from a salvage ship.

The Indian Navy inducted its first DSRV in November 2018.[4][5] A second DSRV is scheduled to be inducted in 2019.[6]

Japanese models

Japanese DSRV aboard Chihaya
The JMSDF deep submergence rescue vehicle Angler Fish 2 aboard the submarine rescue ship JDS Chihaya

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force operate two DSRVs with dedicated mother ships.

  • ChiyodaChiyoda(ちよだ, AS-405)
  • Chihaya – Chihaya(ちはや, ASR-403).

Korean model

The Korean navy operates a submarine rescue ship called Cheong Haejin. It has a dedicated mother ship. The model is based on a modified British design.

Russian models

Russia is believed to have one vessel of the Bester class and five of the Priz class, which was involved in the failed attempt to rescue the crew of Kursk.

Singapore model

MV Swift Rescue, launched 29 November 2008, is Singapore's first and only submarine recovery vessel. It is equipped with a deep submergence rescue vehicle.

United Kingdom models

LR3 2008

The United Kingdom operates the LR5 submersible in a submarine rescue role. It previously operated the Slingsby Engineering built LR3.[7]

United States models

The mode of deployment for these United States submersibles is: fly the vehicle to the port closest to the incident; attach the vehicle to a host submarine; the host submarine travels to the incident site; rescue. The DSRVs were originally designed to work with USS Pigeon and USS Ortolan, but those two vessels have since been decommissioned and replaced by the Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System.


DSRV 2 Avalon 1
DSRV 2 Avalon being loaded onto a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy for transport

The Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) is designed to rescue 24 people at a time at depths of up to 600 m (1,969 ft). Their maximum operating depth is 1,500 m (4,921 ft). Power is provided by two large batteries, one fore, and one aft that power the electrical, hydraulic and life support systems. The DSRV uses mercury in a completely sealed system to allow themselves to match any angle (up to 45°) in both pitch and roll so as to "mate" (attach) to a downed submarine that may be at an angle on the sea floor. The DSRV is capable of being transported by Air Force C-5 to anywhere in the world within 24 hours.

It is then loaded onto a "Mother Submarine" (MOSUB). The MOSUB then carries the DSRV to the rescue site where several trips are made to rescue all personnel. Rescue is usually accomplished by ferrying rescuees from the stranded sub to the MOSUB, however, they can also be taken to a properly equipped surface support ship.

In addition to a number of U.S. Navy submarines being outfitted for MOSUB capabilities, several NATO countries also have submarines outfitted to carry the U.S. Navy DSRV for rescue capability as needed. Both the UK and French Navies have such submarines.

The interior of the DSRV is composed of three spheres. The forward sphere is the "Control Sphere" where the DSRV's pilot and copilot operate the vehicle. The two aft spheres (known as Mid Sphere and Aft Sphere) are used to seat the rescuees or to install equipment for additional operations. Maneuvering is accomplished using four thrusters and one main propeller.

See also


  1. ^ Anteo (A 5309)
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Drass Tecnologie Sottomarine". Archived from the original on 2013-10-19. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  4. ^ "Indian Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) Capability". Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Indian Navy's submarine rescue capability gets a boost - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Indian Navy Acquires Deep Submarine Rescue Capabilities". Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  7. ^ "LR3 - National Maritime History - NMH". Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  8. ^ "Long-serving rescue submarine replaced". Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  9. ^ "Fleet". Retrieved 2015-10-13.

External links

DSRV-1 Mystic

DSRV-1 Mystic is a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle that is rated to dive up to 5,000 feet (1,500 m). She was built by Lockheed for the US Navy at a construction cost of $41 million and launched 24 January 1970. She was declared fully operational in 1977 and named Mystic.

The submarine was intended to be air transportable; she was 50 feet (15 m) long and 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter, and she weighed 37 tons. The sub was capable of descending to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) below the surface and could carry 24 passengers at a time, in addition to her crew. She was stationed at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego and was never required to conduct an actual rescue operation. Mystic was replaced by the SRDRS on September 30, 2008 and began deactivation on October 1, 2008. In October 2014, the submarine was donated to the Naval Undersea Museum.

DSRV-2 Avalon

DSRV-2 Avalon was a Mystic-class Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle rated to dive up to 5000 feet (1500 m) to rescue submarine crews trapped deep under the sea. The submarine was acquired in response to the loss of the USS Thresher, so that the Navy would have a way to rescue trapped submarine crews.

Avalon was launched in 1971. The submarine, intended to be air transportable, is 50 feet (15 m) long, 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter, and weighs 37 tons. The sub is capable of descending to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) below the surface and could carry 24 passengers at a time in addition to her crew. Avalon is battery-powered, and would have needed to pause midway through a rescue mission to recharge its batteries.Avalon was stationed at North Island Naval Station in San Diego and was never required to conduct an actual rescue operation. The sub was decommissioned in 2000. The Avalon submarine was donated to the Morro Bay Maritime Museum in Morro Bay, California, and is currently on public display.

Deep-submergence vehicle

A deep-submergence vehicle (DSV) is a deep-diving manned submarine that is self-propelled. Several navies operate vehicles that can be accurately described as DSVs. DSVs are commonly divided into two types: research DSVs, which are used for exploration and surveying, and DSRVs (Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle), which can be used for rescuing the crew of a sunken navy submarine, clandestine (espionage) missions (primarily installing wiretaps on undersea cables), or both. DSRVs are equipped with docking chambers to allow personnel ingress and egress via a manhole.

The real-life feasibility of any DSRV-based rescue attempt is hotly debated, because the few available docking chambers of a stricken submarine may be flooded, trapping the sailors still alive in other dry compartments. The only attempt to rescue a stricken submarine with these so far (the Russian submarine Kursk) ended in failure as the entire crew who survived the explosion had either suffocated or burned to death before the rescuers could get there. Because of these difficulties, the use of integrated crew escape capsules, detachable conning towers, or both have gained favour in military submarine design during the last two decades. DSRVs that remain in use are primarily relegated to clandestine missions and undersea military equipment maintenance. The rapid development of safe, cost-saving ROV technology has also rendered some DSVs obsolete.

Strictly speaking, bathyscaphes are not submarines because they have minimal mobility and are built like a balloon, using a habitable spherical pressure vessel hung under a liquid hydrocarbon filled float drum. In a DSV/DSRV, the passenger compartment and the ballast tank functionality is incorporated into a single structure to afford more habitable space (up to 24 people in the case of a DSRV).

Most DSV/DSRV vehicles are powered by traditional electric battery propulsion and have very limited endurance. Plans have been made to equip DSVs with LOX Stirling engines but none have been realized so far due to cost and maintenance considerations. All DSVs are dependent upon a surface support ship or a mother submarine, that can piggyback or tow them (in case of the NR-1) to the scene of operations. Some DSRV vessels are air transportable in very large military cargo planes to speed up deployment in case of emergency rescue missions.

Deep Submergence insignia

The Deep Submergence Insignia is a uniform breast pin worn by officers, both men and a few women (1993 to 1997 before The Department of the Navy changed the policy) of the United States Navy's submarine service who are qualified in submarines and have completed one year of regular assignment to a Manned or Unmanned Deep Submersible. The badge was first approved on 6 April 1981.Examples of eligible Deep Submersible Vessels include:


Trieste II (DSV-1)

Alvin (DSV-2)

Turtle (DSV-3)

Sea Cliff (DSV-4)

USS Dolphin (AGSS-555)

NR-1 Deep Submergence Craft

Deep Submergence Unit, Unmanned Vehicles Detachment (UMV)

Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle Mystic (DSRV-1)

DSRV Avalon (DSRV-2)

Undersea Rescue Command

Submarine Rescue Chamber

Pressurized Rescue ModuleThe insignia is also authorized to a supporting deep submergence detachment.

The Deep Submergence Insignia is issued in two grades, gold for officers and silver for enlisted personnel (enlisted personnel may wear the gold pin if they have qualified officer watches). The pin shows the broadside of a Trieste in front of a vertical trident, flanked by heraldic dolphins. The badge is considered a "secondary insignia" and is normally worn on the left uniform pocket, beneath award ribbons and any primary warfare badges, such as the Submarine Warfare Insignia. Personnel eligible to wear other secondary insignias, such as the Submarine Combat Patrol Insignia or SSBN Deterrent Patrol Insignia, may only wear one insignia at a time according to their personal desire.

Italian ship Anteo (A 5309)

Anteo (A 5309) is a submarine rescue ship of the Italian Navy, assigned to Raggruppamento Subacquei ed Incursori "Teseo Tesei" (COMSUBIN). ITS Anteo is the third ship to bear this name in the Italian Navy. The ship’s design was developed by the "Ufficio Navi Speciali del Reparto Progetti Navi" (Special Office of the Ships Projects Division), according to the guidelines provided by the Navy General Staff. The ship was built at Cantiere Navale Breda di Porto Marghera and commissioned to the Italian Navy on 31 July 1980.

Lazurit Central Design Bureau

The Lazurit Central Design Bureau (Russian: Центральное конструкторское бюро "Лазурит") is a company based in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. It is part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation.

The Lazurit Central Design Bureau is a leading design firm in the field of submarines and submersible technology. "Lazurit" is the Russian word for lazurite.

List of submarines of the Swedish Navy

This is a list of Swedish submarines since 1904.


MSM-1 USEL (Unità di Soccorso E Lavoro - Rescue and Work Vessel) was a deep-submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) that was rated to dive up to 600 m (1,969 ft). It was built by Cantieri Navali Ernesto Breda/Fincantieri for the Marina Militare. The sub was capable of descending to 600 metres (2,000 ft) below the surface and could carry 8 passengers at a time in addition to her crew. MSM-1 USEL was hosted by mother ship Anteo at La Spezia from 1980 to 2002. That year MSM-1 USEL was replaced by the DRASS Galeazzi SRV-300.

MV Swift Rescue

MV Swift Rescue is a submarine support and rescue vessel (SSRV) that is operated by the Singapore Navy. It was built by ST Marine, a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Engineering and currently manned by Swire Pacific Offshore Operations Pte Ltd, the marine arm of Swire Group.The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) awarded a $400 million design, build, own and operate contract to ST Marine, through a 20-year Public Private Partnership scheme for a comprehensive ship and submarine rescue system and maintenance services, in January 2007. ST Marine formed a 50:50 joint venture with James Fisher Defence (JFD), in order to execute the project. The joint venture was named as First Response Marine Pte. JFD is a wholly owned subsidiary of James Fisher & Sons.Swift Rescue is stationed in Changi Bay. A subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Engineering built it and was launched in November 2008. The vessel is equipped with Submarine Escape and Rescue (SMER) capabilities. This is the first ship to be owned by the Asian region that has the capabilities of Submarine Escape and Rescue (SER). It is equipped with a deep-submergence rescue vehicle, Deep Search and Rescue Six (DSAR 6), which allows for the rapid and effective removal of personnel from submarines in distress. It takes approximately 15 minutes, after the arrival on the scene, for Swift Rescue to launch the DSAR 6.

Mystic-class deep-submergence rescue vehicle

Mystic class is a class of Deep-Submergence Rescue Vehicles (DSRVs), designed for rescue operations on submerged, disabled submarines of the United States Navy or foreign navies. The two submarines of the class were never used for this purpose, and were replaced by the Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System.

Priz-class deep-submergence rescue vehicle

The Priz class (Project 1855) is a type of Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) operated by the government of Russia. There are known to be at least five vessels of the class, several of which were involved in the failed rescue attempt when the Kursk sank on 12 August 2000. The Russian word "Priz" (“приз”) means "prize".

Russian deep submergence rescue vehicle AS-28

AS-28 is a Priz-class deep-submergence rescue vehicle of the Russian Navy, which entered service in 1986. It was designed for submarine rescue operations by the Lazurit Design Bureau in Nizhny Novgorod. It is 13.5 m (44 ft) long, 5.7 m (19 ft) high, and can operate up to a depth of 1,000 m (3,300 ft).

Russian submarine AS-34

AS-34 is a Russian Priz-class deep-submergence rescue vehicle, or rescue mini-submarine, which went into service in 1989.


SRV-300 is a Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle that is rated to dive up to 300 m (980 ft). It was built by DRASS Galeazzi (Livorno) for the Marina Militare, and is capable of descending to 300 metres (980 ft) carrying 12 passengers in addition to crew. SRV-300 is hosted by Anteo, berthed at La Spezia.

SRV-300 supplanted the Breda MSM-1S USEL Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle, in 2002 and since 2004 it has been fitted with a Simrad EM-1002 multibeam echo-sounder. Further upgrades in 2010 introduced air portability.

Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System

The Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System (SRDRS) is a remotely operated underwater vehicle and its associated systems intended to replace the Mystic class deep submergence rescue vehicle as a means of rescuing United States Navy submarine crew members. Based on the Royal Australian Navy Submarine rescue vehicle Remora, the system is capable of rapidly deploying to a designated location, mounting to a vessel of opportunity, detecting and preparing the area around a downed submarine and submerging to depths of up to 2,000 feet (610 m) to retrieve members of its crew. The SRDRS then allows for the decompression of the crew.

Type 7103 DSRV

The Type 7103 deep-submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) is a submarine rescue submersible of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Type 926 submarine support ship

The Type 926 submarine support ship is a class of submarine rescue and supply ship developed by China for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), as of mid-2014, a total of three are in service. This ship is capable of both replenishing submarines and rescuing submariners in distress.

With a displacement of 9500 tons, the Type 926 carries newly designed rescue chambers that are capable of performing rescue missions to a depth of three hundred meters, being able to rescue a maximum of eighteen submariners each dive. One of these ships carries a deep-submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) imported from the United Kingdom, the LR7, which is a development of the earlier LR5. The LR7 is also capable of rescuing a total of eighteen submariners each dive and the 25-ton DSRV can perform resuce operations at five hundred meters depth and continuously working under water for four days. The rest of the ships carry the successor of the Type 7103 DSRV designed by Harbin Engineering University.

URF (Swedish Navy)

URF (Ubåts Räddnings Farkost – Submarine Rescue Vessel) is the Royal Swedish Navy’s Submarine Rescue Vessel.

USS Philadelphia (SSN-690)

USS Philadelphia (SSN-690), a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, was the sixth ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Philadelphia. The contract to build her was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut on 8 January 1971 and her keel was laid down on 12 August 1972. She was launched on 19 October 1974 sponsored by Mrs. Marian Huntington Scott (née Chase), wife of Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott, and commissioned on 25 June 1977, with Commander Robert B. Osborne USN in command.

In June 1980 Philadelphia departed her homeport of Groton, Connecticut, and headed on a world cruise that would take it to the Indian Ocean/Persian Gulf, as well as the Pacific. Under the command of Commander Edward S. Little USN, the cruise included at visit to Western Australia, when Philadelphia made her only visit to HMAS Stirling in Rockingham on 23 December 1980. The crew enjoyed Christmas in Australia and some R&R before departing on the 29 December 1980. The Philadelphia arrived home in late January 1981.

In 1988, Philadelphia became the first submarine to receive TLAM-D capability.

In 1994, Philadelphia completed the first refueling overhaul of a Los Angeles-class submarine. This was completed at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

In 1998, Philadelphia was modified to carry a Dry Deck Shelter, a platform capable of carrying Special Operations Forces. In addition, she was fitted to provide Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) mother ship support.On 5 September 2005 Philadelphia was in the Persian Gulf about 30 nautical miles (60 km) northeast of Bahrain when she collided with a Turkish merchant ship, MV Yasa Aysen. No injuries were reported on either vessel. Damage to the submarine was described as "superficial." Philadelphia's Commanding Officer, CDR Steven M. Oxholm, was relieved following the incident.

The Turkish ship, which suffered minor damage to her hull just above the water line, was inspected by the United States Coast Guard and found still seaworthy.

In 2006, Philadelphia completed the first-ever Pre-Inactivation Restricted Availability (PIRA) conducted at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

On 20 July 2009 the Navy announced that the submarine would be inactivated on 10 June 2010 and subsequently decommissioned. Philadelphia was decommissioned on 25 June 2010, the thirty-third anniversary of her commissioning.

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