News: Russia building six more deep-sea submersibles
Russian news agency TASS reported on 9th January (https://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/5983265) that the Russian Navy is planning to purchase six transparent bathyscaphes to perform special underwater operations. TASS cited an unnamed source in the Russian military-industrial complex so reliability is unconfirmed. The report is not far-fetched however.
The manned deep-sea vehicles will be designed by Malachite Design Bureau (http://www.malachite-spb.ru/) by 2022 and put into service to help Gazprom with inspection and troubleshooting of sea bottom pipelines.
Malachite Design Bureau 3 person minisub model matching the description. Source: Штатский, Twitter
The configuration is heavily influenced by the Dutch U-Boat Worx Explorer series of civilian submersibles. Several are owned by the Russians and one by the Russian Geographical Society, and President Putin has been aboard them at least twice:
1. 2. 3.
1. Russian President Putin aboard the Dutch built U-Boat Worx 5-person C-Explorer 5, 2013. 2. Putin aboard a U-Boat Worx Explorer 3, 2015 3. A24/25 Viking
The Main Directorate of Deep-Water Research (GUGI), part of the Ministry of Defense, has reportedly also showed interest in the system for conducting special underwater operations. GUGI operates a large fleet of nuclear powered special mission submarines and submersible carrying motherships. Malachite designed the Pr. 16810 "RUS" and Pr.16811 “CONSUL" deep-sea submersibles currently used by GUGI as well as larger nuclear deep-water stations (midget subs).
It is suggested that the six craft will be split between the Northern, Pacific and Black Sea fleets with two units per fleet.
The spherical hulled three-person acrylic-titanium submersibles will be equipped with various manipulators in order to perform underwater engineering. They will operate at depths of up to 2,500 meters. They will have electric thrusters allowing 24 hour endurance.
Russia already deploys the ARS-600 (ACP-600) deep diving manned submersibles which roughly match the description but not the specifications. These are the Russian version of the Canadian Deep Worker design from Nuytco Research. The relatively compact vehicle comes in one and two crew versions and is similar in some respects to the atmospheric diving suits used by divers. Its compact size and light weight (bout two tons) makes it a good candidate for the large stern A-frame. It can operate at 600 meters (1,970 ft) with a maximum depth of 1,000 meters (3,300 ft), which takes it just 20 minutes to descend or ascend (30 minutes from 1,000 meters).
ARS-600 comes in one and two-person versions.
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