The aim of the exercise is to strengthen capability in niche techniques associated with diving and salvage. In the course of the seven day exercise various specialist salvage techniques will be practiced jointly by IN and USN divers, including operation of underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and side scan SONARs being launched from USS Safeguard, and demonstration of Hot Tap Equipment (special equipment used for removal of oil/fuel from tanks of sunken vessels). During the SALVEX the divers will also hone their salvage skills on a ‘Mud Monster’, a pontoon specially built and sunk to practice salvage and diving exercises.
The maiden IN-USN SALVEX was conducted in 2005 and the SALVEX series of exercises have been conducted annually thereafter alternately in India and US Pacific locations. Interestingly in the first SALVEX a vintage Sea Hawk fighter aircraft was recovered from a depth of about 50 metres off Kochi. IN Salvage teams have also recovered a Seaking helicopter from a depth of 70 metres in the past.
Photo Courtesy Indian Navy / DPR Defence