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JFD secures DSRV deal with Republic of Korea Navy

jfd korean dsrv

JFD was awarded the multi-million pound contract by South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering to provide an advanced, highly capable submarine rescue vehicle for the South Korean Navy. 

JFD was awarded the multi-million pound contract by South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering to provide an advanced, highly capable submarine rescue vehicle for the South Korean Navy. 

Following the recent contract award to DSME for the construction of a new auxiliary submarine rescue ship (ASR-II) for the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN), JFD will design and build a DSRV bespoke to the requirements of the customer that will enhance the operational capabilities of its submarine rescue service. 

Once in operation, the DSRV will be launched and recovered from the submarine rescue vessel via a “moonpool” through which the DSRV will be deployed to rescue the crews of distressed submarines at depths of up to 500m, and in waves as tall as four metres.


Giovanni Corbetta, managing director of JFD, welcomed the contract announcement, saying, “We are proud to have worked with the RoKN for a number of years in supporting the provision of its submarine rescue service. Protecting the lives of submariners is of utmost importance to JFD, and ensuring our customers have the most advanced and comprehensive submarine rescue capability is fundamental to this.”

This method of launch and recovery minimises the impact of weather and sea states on the ability to operate the DSRV, maximising the chances of a successful submarine rescue operation, further safeguarding the lives of submariners. JFD has extensive experience in launch and recovery via a moonpool through its years of delivering advanced saturation diving systems and diving bells through moonpools.

“The new DSRV will provide an advanced capability to the RoKN that will ensure the lives of those operating sub-sea are protected at all times,” Corbetta added. 

Due to be delivered to the customer in 2021, the DSRV will undergo a comprehensive series of tests and trials including factory, harbour and sea acceptance trials, before entering operational service.

The DSRV has been designed to maximise battery capacity and operational endurance, increasing the chances of a successful rescue operation. This also ensures minimal time is spent recharging the vehicle’s batteries, ensuring the DSRV can be deployed quickly in the event of an incident.

James Fisher and Sons CEO Nick Henry said, “JFD first delivered a deep search and rescue system to the South Korean Navy in 2009. This additional capability further demonstrates our position of market leadership in the submarine rescue market, as well as the strong relationships that we build with our customers.”

In the development of its advanced DSRV design, JFD employed its extensive experience from the development of its multiple advanced submarine rescue systems currently in operation around the world, in order to optimise the design to meet the bespoke requirements of the RoKN.

The RoKN currently operates a multipurpose submarine rescue ship – the 103m long, 4,300-tonne RoKS Cheonghaejin. Once in operation, the new ASR-II vessel will replace the current Cheonghaejin, in operation since 1996.

JFD has supported an advanced submarine rescue capability for over nine years and, following delivery of the new DSRV, will continue to work with the RoKN and its partners in providing a comprehensive training and support programme that will ensure that submarine rescue operations are carried out safely and efficiently.

“The vehicle is a variation of the landmark third-generation vehicles recently delivered to the Indian Navy,” Henry added. 

JFD provides sub-sea rescue services, solutions products, engineering services and training to 80 countries and 33 of the world’s navies, including the Royal Navy, Australian, Singapore, and South Korean Navies, as well as providing the NATO Submarine Rescue System.

In parallel with the delivery of the second system to the Indian Navy, JFD has continued to support multiple submarine rescue systems in service around the world, recently executing a successful Black Carillon 2018 comprehensive submarine rescue exercise with the Australian Navy, as well as conducting preparations for the mid-life upgrade of the Singaporean system.

Stephen Kuper

Stephen Kuper

Steve has an extensive career across government, defence industry and advocacy, having previously worked for cabinet ministers at both Federal and State levels.