MOSCOW, January 9. /TASS/. The Russian Navy plans to procure six transparent bathyscaphes for special underwater operations, a source in the defense industry told TASS on Wednesday.
According to the source, the manned deep-water vehicle will be developed by the Malakhit Design Bureau by an order from the Russia's gas company Gazprom and is intended in the base case for inspection and troubleshooting of bottom pipelines. "However, the Main Department of Deep-Water Studies of the Russian Defense Ministry showed interest in the vehicle and will consider the bathyscaphes as a tool for special underwater operations," the source said.
It is assumed that "the vehicle will perform tasks in three fleets upon its handover to the Navy — the Northern, the Pacific, and the Black Sea ones," the source noted. "Each fleet will get at least two vehicles," the source added.
Activities performed while using the vehicle should start this year, the source said. The bathyscaphe fitted with various manipulators will be capable of working at depths down to 2.5 km. The crew will consist of three individuals. "The vehicle will have a sphere-like form with the transparent body made of acryl and titanium. The motor will support continuous operations during 24 hours at the least. Any civilian or naval vessel can carry the vehicle," the source added.
The cost of bathyscaphe development will be over 1 bln rubles ($15 mln).