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Giant World War II aircraft-carrying submarine discovered.
A World War II-era Imperial Japanese Navy mega-submarine, the I-400, lost since 1946 when it was intentionally scuttled by U.S. forces after its capture, has been discovered in more than 2,300 feet of water off the southwest coast of O‘ahu. The discovery resolves a decades-old Cold War mystery of just where the lost submarine lay, and recalls a different era as one war ended and a new, undeclared conflict emerged.Longer than a football field at 400 feet, the I-400 was known as a “Sen-Toku” class submarine—the largest submarine ever built until the introduction of nuclear-powered subs in the 1960s. With a range of 37,500 miles, the I-400 and its sister ship, the I-401, were able to travel one and a half times around the world without refueling, a capability that, to this day, has never been matched by any other diesel-electric submarine.The new discovery of the I-400 was led by veteran undersea explorer Terry Kerby, Hawai?i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) operations director and chief submarine pilot. Since 1992, HURL has used its manned submersibles Pisces IV and Pisces V to hunt for submarines and other submerged cultural resources as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) maritime heritage research effort.Heritage properties like historic wreck sites are non-renewable resources possessing unique information about the past. This discovery was part of a series of dives funded by a grant from NOAA’s Office of Exploration and Research and the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST). Working with Steven Price of HURL, Kerby has researched the subject of lost submarines off O‘ahu for decades. On these recent dives, Kerby was joined by two NOAA archaeologists with experience in documenting World War II vessels and submarines, Drs. James Delgado and Hans Van Tilburg.“The I-400 has been on our ‘to-find’ list for some time. It was the first of its kind of only three built, so it is a unique and very historic submarine,” said Kerby. “Finding it where we did was totally unexpected. All our research pointed to it being further out to sea. The multi-beam anomalies that appear on a bottom survey chart can be anything from wrecks to rocks—you don’t know until you go there. Jim and Hans and I knew we were approaching what looked like a large wreck on our sonar. It was a thrill when the view of a giant submarine appeared out of the darkness.”The I-400 and the I-401 aircraft-carrying submarines held up to three folding-wing float-plane bombers that could be launched by catapult just minutes after the submarines surfaced. Each aircraft could carry a powerful 1,800-pound bomb to attack the U.S. mainland. But neither was ever used for its designed purpose, their missions curtailed by the end of armed conflict in the Pacific.“The innovation of air strike capability from long-range submarines represented a tactical change in submarine doctrine,” said Delgado, director of NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program, within the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Washington, D.C. “The large I-400, with its extended range and ability to launch three M6A1 Seiran strike aircraft, was clearly an important step in the evolution of submarine design.”Up until the Sen-Toku’s day, submarines had been almost exclusively dedicated to sinking surface ships (and other submarines) by stealth attack from under water.“The I-400 is technologically significant due to the design features associated with its large watertight hangar,” Delgado said. “Following World War II, submarine experimentation and design changes would continue in this direction, eventually leading to ballistic missile launching capabilities for U.S. submarines at the advent of the nuclear era.”At the end of WWII, the U.S. Navy captured five Japanese subs, including the I-400, and brought them to Pearl Harbor for inspection. When the Soviet Union demanded access to the submarines in 1946 under the terms of the treaty that ended the war, the U.S. Navy sank the subs off the coast of O?ahu and claimed to have no information on their precise location. The goal was to keep their advanced technology out of Soviet hands during the opening chapters of the Cold War. HURL has now successfully located four of these five lost submarines.The HURL crew identified the wreck site by carefully combing through side-scan sonar and multi-beam sonar data to identify anomalies on a deep sea floor littered with rocky outcrops and other debris. The wreck was positively identified as the I-400 based on features including its aircraft launch ramp, deck crane, torpedo tube configuration, and stern running lights. The remains of the submarine’s aircraft hangar and conning tower appear to have been separated from the wreck, perhaps in the blunt trauma of the three U.S. Navy torpedo blasts that sunk the ship in 1946.The I-400 was discovered in August 2013 and is being announced today after NOAA has reviewed its findings with the U.S. state department and Japanese government officials.“These historic properties in the Hawaiian Islands recall the critical events and sacrifices of World War II in the Pacific, a period which greatly affected both Japan and the United States and shaped the Pacific region as we now know it,” said Van Tilburg, maritime heritage coordinator for NOAA in the Pacific Islands region. “Our ability to interpret these unique weapons of the past and jointly understand our shared history is a mark of our progress from animosity to reconciliation. That is the most important lesson that the site of the I-400 can provide today.”The Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) specializes in providing scientists with the tools and expertise they need to investigate the undersea environment, including submersibles, remotely operated vehicles, and other cutting edge technologies. This Center, within the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawai‘i, is partly funded through a cooperative agreement from NOAA that began in 1980. The Center is now part of NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.
Hawaii Undersea Research Lab desperate for funding.
The previously federally funded program is one of two in the world, but it's days ocean exploration are numbered, unless an angel funder appears on the scene soon. "There is a real need now more than ever. We are trying to keep the capability, but with the lack of federal support, they are an endangered species," said HURL chief pilot Terry Kerby. Last month with Kerby in the driver’s seat, the Pieces sub brought back this look at the city’s outfall pipe for its Sand Island treatment plant--the first inspection of the pipe in 20 years. "We understand they were very successful. We stopped the flow for a couple of hours so it would be more clear so they would have great footage for us to evaluate," said Mark Yonamine, the city’s Design and Construction deputy director. Kerby says it’s possible the Pieces sub could be tapped again, to help fix a faulty flap. But it all depends on how soon the fix can happen, and if the subs are sold off next year. "We are fortunate it was an option for us. We do have another project coming on at Honouliuli- another outfall. We are really early on in the planning stage yet though," said Yonamine. The subs made headlines this month after finding the ghost ship the USS Kailua as part of a NOAA Maritime Heritage dive. And they have found all five of the Japanese subs that took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor. NOAA stopped funding the manned-sub program last year to focus on robotics, but scientists maintain there is a need for both. HURL has pioneered research on the undersea volcanoes like Loihi, and discovered new species of corals and fish. It has also just begun mapping the marine preserve at Papahanaumokuakea -- whose boundaries have just been expanded. "There is a real need for the Pieces, especially now in with exploration in the Western Pacific,” said Kerby. "The capability is here. The decades of expertise are here, No one has to invest anything to bring assets out in the Pacific to do this work everything. Everything is intact here with our own institute in our own state," Kerby said. University officials hate to see the research program go under, but say they don't have the $3 million a year it needs to keep going. "We have run out of money we had just enough to keep the key people this year we got 10 dives this fall, but we just can’t carry it," said Sandy Shor, associate dean for the School of Ocean, Earth, Science and Technology. Shor has high praises for the subs safety record and the expertise of the HURL crew. ”Unbelievable safety record, and so efficient compared with other operations in the world,” said Shor. An impressive record and 30 years of pioneering research but it's just not enough to stay afloat without help soon.
Chinese submariners defy death in the depths.
n a recent People's Liberation Army navy patrol mission, his team had just three minutes to save their Submarine 372 from plunging into an underwater trench thousands of meters deep. The vessel had encountered a sudden change in water conditions, leading it to sink uncontrollably fast. "We couldn't control the boat's depth despite my order to fill the ballast tanks. It fell tens of meters in less than three minutes," Wang said. His crew quickly seized the little time they had, opening all the emergency air flasks within 10 seconds to fill the tanks. They managed to close more than 100 valves and related equipment in less than a minute. In two minutes, all the cabins were sealed. The team's swift, coordinated reaction saved everyone. "It is not uncommon for a submarine to temporarily lose control of its depth due to the change in seawater density and under-surface current, but most of the time we can fix that by rebalancing or speeding up," Wang, commander of an elite submarine flotilla under the PLA navy's South Sea Fleet, recently told a news conference in a rare open house. "But this time, the submarine was sailing in deep waters and it was sinking very fast, so if we didn't move fast, the boat and its whole crew would have been pulled into the abyss in a very short time." One of the vessel's pipes in the main engine cabin was also damaged by the increased water pressure, resulting in an influx of seawater and the main engine losing its power. Ma Ze, a staff officer from the PLA navy headquarters in Beijing who took part in the mission, explained how serious the situation was. "Everyone who has served on a submarine knows that three situations pose the most dangerous threats to a boat - uncontrollable sinking caused by loss of buoyancy, influx of seawater and equipment catching fire. Submarine 372 suffered from two of them at one time, which truly presented a life-and-death situation for its crew." Professor Liu Guijie from the Ocean University of China told the South China Morning Post: "It's really dangerous. In this case, the water density suddenly falls and as a consequence the buoyant force would also decrease, which would make the watercraft plummet." Many later agreed that the crew's escape from death was a miracle in the navy's history. The tough training, spirit of sacrifice and unwavering faith in teamwork were the weapons that Wang's crew used to save themselves, he said. The submarine's officers and sailors were well-trained and not overcome by panic during the emergency, Captain Yi Hui of Submarine 372 said. Chen Zujun, the electrical equipment chief, was on duty in the main engine cabin with two of his subordinates, Mao Xuegang and Zhu Zhaowei. After hearing a bang, the three crewmen found seawater flooding the cabin. Dense fog also blurred their vision. Chen immediately ordered crew members to close hatches and stem the leak. He shut down the main engine and other electrical apparatus in the section while Mao and Zhu struggled to fix the broken pipes. "We couldn't hear the instructions from the commander because it was very loud in the cabin, so we didn't waste time waiting for orders but carried out the measures that we had practiced numerous times," Chen said. "The procedures are in our blood." Lian Shicai, Submarine 372's chief petty officer, said the training and exercises have implanted quick responses in the crew. "We are trained to be fast in handling fires, leaks and other contingencies, and we know clearly what to do when such hazards arise," he said. The flotilla has also been encouraging crew members to repair malfunctioning or broken parts on their own and has given awards to those who succeed, substantially enhancing submariners' knowledge and capabilities, said the vessel's power chief, Xie Baoshu. "From the start of each year, we would make a comprehensive and systematic plan for the training and drills for the whole year. Experts from the submarine academy and related areas are invited to give lectures to the submariners or help us address problems," Yi said. "Every crew member, including the captain and political commissar, must attend and pass theoretical and practical tests for their posts." The flotilla also holds competitions on skills and emergency response on a regular basis, urging heads of each submarine to keep strengthening crews' combat readiness, he said. After Submarine 372 surfaced following its emergency, senior officers on board decided not to report the incident to the South Sea Fleet headquarters until the vessel completed its mission. "At first, I was not sure whether the boat and its crew could carry on the mission because the vessel had been flooded by seawater. A lot of equipment had malfunctioned and all the men were exhausted after nearly three sleepless days of repair," Yi said."But the officers and sailors insisted on completing the patrol while the equipment was gradually being restored, giving us more confidence to carry out the mission." Wang also found the submariners facing another major challenge after the emergency-dealing with foreign military ships and aircraft. Submarine 372 was driven by one electric motor because its main engine was being repaired. It continued to maneuver underwater and took the opportunity to forge its combat capability, he said. "The rivals were coming for us but our sailors didn't flinch ... I was thinking that, since they (foreign navies) were 'generous enough to give us a combat training opportunity for free, we shouldn't waste it," Wang said. The submarine successfully broke through several rounds of encirclement and pursuits by foreign navies and continued its patrol in the next days before returning to base. Zhi Tianlong, president of the PLA Navy Submarine Academy, said Wang and his men's handling of the incident was exemplary. "They succeeded in defusing such a complicated and grave emergency. Their performance was excellent and it will be written into our textbooks. The navy will promote their experience to all submarine forces," said Zhi, who has served with the navy's submarine units for more than three decades. To further recognize the crew's courage and capability, Senior Captain Wang was given a first-class military service citation by President Xi Jinping, who is also chairman of the Central Military Commission, in September, while the PLA navy gave the crew a first-class merit citation, which is rare in peacetime. Admiral Wu Shengli, commander of the PLA navy, said at the award ceremony that the Submarine 372 crew's feat will inspire all its servicemen to honor their duties and build a strong navy. The flotilla organizes long-distance patrols every year, and these operations will continue to expand in distance and duration, with submarines continuing to explore new depths, Wang said. "We value every experience we get in our operations. Crew members are required to review and learn from their performance and missions, so that they can constantly improve," he said. Vessel steering chief Zhao Manxing said every submariner in his flotilla aspires to adventure and honor. "Fighting windstorms and billows is what a man should do in his youth, so I joined the submarine fleet," he said. "We don't believe in fear and hardship."
When the submarine started sinking rapidly, I was on duty. I can recall how nervous I was at that time because the vessel continued to sink for about 10 seconds even though Senior Captain Wang Hongli, commander of our flotilla and mission leader, had ordered all ballast tanks to be blown. The submarine became suspended in the deep water and then began to surface very quickly. After three hours of repairs, we submerged again, but all the men still had the jitters. However, I saw Wang was still smiling when he gave orders to us. He told us we would overcome all the difficulties and he would make sure every submariner was safe and sound. His smile and words were a big relief, and they cleared the tension from my mind. I knew he bore heavy responsibilities and huge pressure, but that didn't stop him from reassuring and inspiring us. At that time, all the men aboard shared one aim-to repair the equipment and complete our mission. Not one was thinking of himself, like whether he could do something to get a citation. We trust each other. We know we can depend on each other in tough times or crises. I am very proud to be a submariner in the People's Liberation Army because I believe only a small number of servicemen can be chosen to serve on a submarine. I can tell you, serving on such a vessel is anything but comfortable and easy. The interior is narrow, and crowded with equipment. Sailors often have insomnia during long missions. Still, for me, a sailor who has served on a submarine for 13 years, the helm has become a part of my body. I will not leave it, and I will stay at my post no matter what happens. Cheng Yunzhao is deputy steerage chief of Submarine 372. He was talking to China Daily reporter Zhao Lei.
Sir Richard Branson quietly shelves Virgin submarine plan.
Virgin Oceanic’s DeepFlight Challenger submarine, whose mission was described by Sir Richard Branson as “the last great challenge for humans”, has been mothballed.
Sir Richard Branson has quietly shelved his latest adventure: an ambitious plan to pilot a submarine to the deepest points of the world’s five oceans. The entrepreneur had a grand scheme to explore both space and sea. But his plan for the first rocket ship charging passengers for trips to the edge of space is in jeopardy after the craft crashed during a test flight, killing a pilot. Now Sir Richard’s dream of exploring the lowest points on Earth is also on hold. Virgin Oceanic’s DeepFlight Challenger submarine was unveiled in a blaze of publicity in April 2011, with Sir Richard describing its mission as “the last great challenge for humans”. He had hoped the 18ft-long submarine, designed to “fly” along the ocean floor, would make its maiden voyage to the bottom of the Pacific’s Mariana Trench – at a depth of 36,000ft, the lowest known point on Earth – by the end of 2011, or failing that, by 2012. It would then move on to the Puerto Rico trench at 28,000ft in the Atlantic, followed by dives in the Arctic, Indian and Southern oceans. The plan was for alternating pilots in the single-seater craft, with Chris Welsh, a sailor and explorer, taking the first dive and Sir Richard the second. Three years on, the DeepFlight Challenger has been mothballed, never having reached the bottom of any of the oceans. The Virgin Oceanic website – which had promised “five dives, five oceans, two years, one epic adventure” – no longer exists, apparently taken down earlier this year. Virgin Oceanic had planned to charge a future generation of “aquanauts” up to $500,000 (£318,000), according to one source, to pilot submarines to the ocean floor. But the company that built DeepFlight Challenger has told The Telegraph it refused to back the project, insisting the submarine was suitable for only one dive and could not be reused because of the pressure on its structure at such depths. In a little-noticed statement three months ago on the Virgin group website, Sir Richard alluded to the project being scrapped but stopped short of admitting defeat. He said: “Starting new ventures takes a 'screw it, let’s do it’ attitude and finding the right partners to help us achieve the unthinkable… However, business is also about knowing when to change tack. “We are still highly passionate about exploring the bottom of the ocean. However, we are now widening the focus of the project and looking for new technology to help us explore the ocean and democratise access at reduced cost and increased safety.” Last week, Virgin confirmed the original plan for five ocean dives using DeepFlight Challenger had been scrapped. A spokesman said there were concerns about making the dives safely, adding: “We were not sure it [DeepFlight Challenger] would make it down. That project has been put on ice while we look at other technology that works.” The spokesman said Sir Richard still had ambitions to explore the ocean trenches, but there was no rush. “The name [Virgin Oceanic] remains our name, so no doubt we will revive it.” DeepFlight Challenger was the invention of Steve Fossett, the multi-millionaire adventurer, who commissioned its construction in 2005. He planned to pilot the submarine to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in a one-off trip, then donate the craft to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. But in tests simulating the pressure at 38,000ft below the sea, the vessel’s domed glass cockpit showed signs of cracking, meaning that a replacement would need to be made from stronger material. That appears to be as far as the DeepFlight Challenger ever got. When Fossett, a close friend of Sir Richard, died in a plane crash in 2007, the ownership of the submarine passed to his estate. Four years later, Mr Welsh, who is also a Californian property magnate, bought the craft and a huge catamaran from which to launch it from Fossett’s estate for less than $1 million. He approached Sir Richard for further investment and the pair set up Virgin Oceanic in 2011. At the company’s launch in California, Sir Richard admitted the dives might be dangerous but appeared aware of future commercial possibilities, saying: “We believe there are thousands of people who’d like to explore the oceans and become aquanauts.” But DeepFlight, the company that designed and built the submarine, said it expressed concerns about its suitability for repeated dives. Adam Wright, the firm’s president, said last week: “The Challenger was built for a very specialised contract with Steve Fossett. It was designed for one dive down to the Mariana Trench. The idea was to set the record for the deepest dive and then give it to the Smithsonian to put on display. “Once Virgin took over the project, the importance of the one-off record dive shifted and they wanted to repurpose the craft. They wanted to do five dives. The problem is the strength of the vessel does decrease after each dive. It is strongest on the first dive.” Mr Wright said DeepFlight had talks with Virgin about providing a consulting and engineering service, but pulled out. “As soon as we heard about the five dives and that they wanted to repurpose it [the submarine] and sell tickets, we didn’t want to be associated with that. "They were trying to sell tickets; they wanted to charge half a million dollars. We were extremely concerned about it… We didn’t want the liability of being the manufacturer of that vessel. “Had the focus of the project been maintained to the initial purpose, it would have been totally different. The problem was not the technology or the lack of knowhow.” DeepFlight was beaten to the record dive by another submarine, piloted by James Cameron, the Oscar-winning film director, who took his submersible on a solo voyage to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in 2012.
Pakistan Navy, Al Qaeda and a decades-old Submarine deal.
The Wall Street Journal earlier on Saturday carried an interesting report on a foiled Al-Qaeda attack on the Karachi Naval docks in Pakistan. The report also spoke about how the head of the newly formed Al-Qaeda unit for the Indian Sub-Continent was also nabbed during the raid. This preemptive strike follows an earlier botched attempt at taking over a Pakistan Naval ship in Karachi resulting in the deaths of several uniformed men. On September 9, Pakistani media reported on how a group of terrorists attempted to penetrate the Pakistan Naval Dockyard in Karachi with both the Taliban and the new Al-Qaeda unit laying claim. Subsequent reports revealed the true nature of what went on at the Karachi Dockyards. On the 10th of Sept one Pak media outlet spoke of an inside hand. Then came more details of the real intent of the attack – hijack PNS Zulfiqar. The Long War Journal on the 17th of Sept claimed that the ultimate targets of this hijacking were the US warships and the attackers were mutinous Pakistani Navy men. Quoting AQIS spokesperson, Usama Mahmoud, who made the claim in a statement released on his Twitter account, it reported that “true objective of the operation … is the American naval fleet that is stationed in the Indian Ocean.”all the participants in this fearless operation were officers serving in the ranks of the Pakistani Navy.” Interestingly, the Long War Journal traced the history of Al-Qaeda’s dalliances with the Pakistan Navy to a few years back when an earlier attack took place in 2011. An attack in whose aftermath we also saw the murder of one Pakistan’s most prolific Terror Report – Syed Saleem Shahzad. In May of 2011, the Pakistani Naval base of Mehran in Karachi saw one of the deadliest attacks resulting in severe damage to a fleet of Naval Aircraft. The Mehran attack carried about by Ilyas Kashmiri’s so-called 313 Brigade is said to have had help from Navy insiders and was in response to the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Within a week, insiders at PNS Mehran provided maps, pictures of different exit and entry routes taken in daylight and at night, the location of hangers and details of likely reaction from external security forces,” Shahzad wrote. While the extent of radicalization of the Pakistan Navy becomes evident from these attacks over the span of the last three years, one has to rewind back almost a decade for yet another curious story involving the Pakistani Navy and a deep State where the line between Terror and Uniforms blurred. On the 8th of May 2002, about 8 months after the deadly 9-11 attacks, a Bus Bombing took place in Karachi. Described as a Suicide bombing, the attack took place outside a Karachi Hotel on a Bus carrying French Naval Engineers. About 11 French Navy men perished in that attack, who were said to be working on a Submarine Project with Pakistan. Writing further on that Submarine Project, a report in the Guardian back then said : The engineers were working for the French state-owned marine company Direction de la Construction Navale on a project to build an Agosta 90B attack submarine, part of a big naval defence technology transfer project. The deal, which involves three submarines, has become controversial because of allegations of serious corruption. At least one Pakistani naval officer was convicted of receiving kickbacks when the deal was signed in the mid-1990s. After the September 11 attacks on the US, 80 French dockyard workers were flown back to Cherbourg because of a terrorist threat, but 40 were sent back earlier this year. The Agosta Submarine kickbacks controversy in Pakistan dates back to the 1990s. In a report that appeared “The News” in 2010 we learn more about the personalities and the conflicts within Pakistan’s deep state: a list of naval officers who had allegedly received kickbacks but were never touched and promoted as rear admirals instead. this project was finalised during Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure as prime minister but was never probed either by Senator Saifur Rehman, Pakistan Navy or by the NAB. The most interesting aspect to us in India on the Agosta scandal and the attack on the French Navy engineers comes to light from the investigations done by the French led book famed French Magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere. While the Magistrate maintained that the Al Qaeda was behind the attack, the deeper conspiracy was revealed during a 2008 search in France that was however “officially” denied. “The Karachi bombing was carried out thanks to the complicity of sections of the [Pakistani] army and of the agencies within the Pakistani secret services tasked with supporting Islamist guerillas.” The document continues: “Those who used this Islamist group who carried out the action had a financial goal…. It was a question of obtaining the payment of unpaid commissions” that had been agreed upon as part of a purchase of French submarines for Pakistan in 1994. The investigations by Magistrate Bruguiere into the Pakistan Military-Jihadi complex during the 2000s had also led to the discovery of one Willie Brigitte a French origin, Lashkar trained sleeper terrorist. It is in this investigation that we learn for the first time about Sajid Mir who was Brigette’s handler. Sajid Mir of course is of interest to us in India as the operational mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks with extensive conversations between him and David Headley recorded by the FBI. As with the multiple Karachi attack Naval attacks last decade and this decade, the line blurs between so called Al-Qaeda and renegades in Uniform. It is this same blurred line that comes through in all that we know about Sajid Mir through the Headley tapes and the French revelations before that. One aspect of the Mumbai 26/11 attacks that did not receive much attention with all the public focus deflected towards the JuD loudmouth Hafiz Saeed is the Naval Sophistication in the run up to the attack. The 11 terrorists who attacked Mumbai had not only hijacked a vessel on high seas but had navigated it till Mumbai before launching an amphibious assault on its coast, reminding us that these were no run of the mill Jihadis but were trained by elements within the Pakistan Navy. David Headley in his court appearances during the trial in Chicago also confirmed the Navy angle. Syed Saleem Shahzad was however most specific on the role of the Pakistan Navy in a report he wrote few days after the Mumbai Attacks back in December of 2008 (a report ironically most ignored in India). The only active forward sections were left in the southern port city of Karachi, and the former Muzzafarabad sections were sent there. The PNS Iqbal (a naval commando unit) was the main outlet for militants to be given training and through deserted points they were launched into the Arabian sea and on into the Indian region of Gujarat. the “game” in the hands of a low-level ISI forward section head (a major) the ISI’s forward section in Karachi ….. approved the plan under which more than 10 men took Mumbai hostage. From the Karachi Docks attack of 2002 to the 26/11 attacks and the most recent failed attack at the same Dockyards runs a thread of terror and deception perhaps the defining fault-line within the Pakistani Mil-Jihadi Complex and more specifically within its Navy. Its roots however may lie in that tainted Submarine deal of the 1990s between those who got paid off and those who got pissed off.
Alvin: The Little Submarine.
Alvin returns to research ship Lulu after a dive in the Atlantic Ocean over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, southwest of the Azores, in 2001. Emory Kristof/National Geographic/Getty Images. As the world races to outer space, a submarine about the size of a delivery truck has explored what some consider the real final frontier: the deep blue sea. The first research submarine capable of carrying passengers to and from the seafloor, Alvin has spent some 50 years plumbing the ocean's depths. Although not as sleek or sexy as the Space Shuttle, the tubby white submersible has responded to national crises — even recovering a lost hydrogen , and discovered extreme ecosystems that challenged long-held ideas of where life is possible. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute scientist Allyn Vine set the gears in motion for a manned research submersible in the 1950s during a symposium on deep-sea study. The problem? Existing submarines couldn't dive deep enough or transport passengers. Onboard instruments could take measurements, of course, but "people are so versatile," Vine said. "I find it difficult to imagine what kind of instrument should have been put on the Beagle instead of Charles Darwin." So six years later, WHOI contracted General Mills to build a research submarine that could safely shuttle a pilot and two scientists 6,000 feet underwater and back to the surface. Officially commissioned in June 1964, the 35,200-pound submarine named Alvin — a portmanteau of Vine's first and last names — holds enough air to sustain crewmembers for up to three days as they observe their surroundings from the cockpit and control robotic arms to collect organisms, sediments and other samples. Two surplus Navy pontoons formed a makeshift catamaran — dubbed Lulu, after Vine's mother — to support Alvin during its dives. After a year of test dives, Alvin completed its first mission in 1966: finding and retrieving a hydrogen bomb that had plummeted into the Mediterranean when a U.S. B-52 carrying the bomb collided with a tanker near Spain. But Alvin landed in some sticky situations, too, from tangling with a swordfish (which was later pulled ashore and eaten for dinner) to losing an arm. In 1968, the steel cables that tethered Alvin to Lulu snapped, and it sank 5,000 feet, where it remained before being recovered nearly a year later. Fortunately, no one was inside and Alvin itself was incredibly well-preserved; its structure almost entirely intact, the apples and bologna sandwiches in its cockpit discolored but still edible. In 1977, Alvin discovered piping-hot vents teeming with giant clams, red-plumed tubeworms and other strange creatures along the Galapagos Rift. Until then, scientists believed that deep-sea animals fed on organic matter that had fallen from the surface, after absorbing the sunlight that land life depends on for energy. But they realized that these so-called extremophiles rely on chemosynthesis, a process that converts methane and other chemicals (instead of sunlight) into energy — expanding their understanding of where life could exist. After snapping the first photos of the Titanic wreckage in 1986, Alvin underwent upgrades and continued to explore chemosynthetic ecosystems, from a whale skeleton crawling with tubeworms and other creatures to an eerie terrain of 60-foot-tall white carbonate rock pinnacles along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (aka the Lost City). Alvin came to the national rescue again in 2010, when it evaluated damage from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists onboard photographed dead and dying corals, stripped of living tissue and coated in tufts of dark oil. Alvin's pilots, of course, deserve kudos. Like astronauts, many hold engineering degrees and also undergo stringent training, including a series of tests to earn U.S. Navy certification. One test requires them to draw Alvin's hydraulic, electrical and other components — all from memory. They're mechanics, too, responsible for fixing any malfunctions during a dive.
Scientists take Alvin to the ocean floor in the Cayman Trench in the Caribbean Sea in 2008. Throughout 2011 into 2013, after more than 4,600 dives, Alvin underwent a massive upgrade. "We basically redesigned and rebuilt the entire vehicle," said Pat Hickey, who headed the Alvin Operations Group during the overhaul. Earlier this year, the submersible returned to the Gulf of Mexico, where pilots and scientists are continuing to test its new battery capacity, HD cameras and maneuverability. Some scientists have used Alvin's discoveries to make a case for exploring the ocean, often considered less glamorous than space; NASA's budget was about $17 billion in 2013, but only $5 billion funds ocean exploration. Yet 95 percent of the ocean remains unexplored, and we have better maps of the surface of Mars than we do of our seafloor. The more we understand the deep sea, the better we can conserve its inhabitants, from the fish that 1 in 5 people use as a primary protein source to the algae and other organisms that could be used to make life-saving pharmaceuticals. And Alvin isn't through yet. Its upgrades are expected to yield even more surprising discoveries that will lure scientists toward the deep blue abyss.
The Super Submarine Experience.
Yachts just keep getting better, bigger, and more luxurious. It’s getting hard to conceive that there might be even more innovative design in the realm of superyachts. And while it’s more than likely that yachts will continue to dazzle, it seems that the most daring wealthy yachters are abandoning the top of the ocean and diving 20,000 leagues under the sea. Numerous luxury superyacht-deployable submarines have emerged that allow you to do just that.
Triton Submarines is perhaps the most famous company offering a luxury submarine experience. They were established in 2007 specifically for the purpose of designing luxury submarines to be deployed from superyachts. The most coveted of their products is easily the 3300/6 that holds the distinction of being the world’s deepest diving six person submersible. That’s right, you can literally bring five of your buddies on this thing. Who needs beer and Sunday football when you can relax while exploring the depths of the ocean? The submersible allows you to travel 1,000 meters beneath the surface. Might sound scary to some, but utterly thrilling to others.
For those that want to travail the deep blue in style, go with U.S. Submarines’ Discovery 1000. There are versions that carry two, four, and six passengers and not only is the thing extrememly lightweight, the company emphasized a very sleep and aesthetically pleasing design. The sub looks more like a boat and seems like it’d be a comfortable way of doing something that might seem quite unnerving and uncomfortable.
Though not to be released until September 2015 but also exciting is the U-Boat Worx Superyacht Sub 3. This sub was designed for superyacht owners exclusively. It is small in size and offers ultimate safety precautions for those worried that their lack of experience and expertise in diving should lead to some very ill-fated situations. It is only 171cm in height and 3,500 kg in weight, so will stow away on a super yacht with ease. The boat carries 96 hours of life support should anything go terribly wrong throughout the journey. A manta control feature allows the three passengers to take turns controlling the submarine, so everyone on board gets to feel part of the journey. Obviously not all men that are into luxury yachting will feel the need to dive hundreds of meters under the sea. It can be frightening and is most definitely dangerous. But for those that like some honest-to-goodness with their luxury experiences, a submarine experience could be just what you are looking for. When you have seen all the world has to offer, it’s comforting to know that there’s an entire world residing beneath the sea of unchartered territory.
Antique submarines remain the key to struggling Taiwan navy.
A Taiwanese navy soldier stands on a US-made Guppy class submarine at the Tsoying navy base in southern Kaohsiung. At 70 years old, Taiwan’s World War II-era Hai Pao submarine would not be out of place in a museum, but the antique vessel is still part of the navy - a sign of the island’s ongoing struggle to strengthen its fleet. The sub’s interior gleams with highly polished copper and is the pride of its crew. But the fact that the former US warship is still on active duty is testament to Taiwan’s decades-long battle to build up its submarine force, with potential suppliers wary of jeopardising relations with China. China has opposed any arms sales to the island, which it regards as part of its territory, to be reunified by force if necessary. Yet a modern submarine fleet is critical for Taiwan’s defence, analysts say. “Submarines would be a credible, survivable deterrent to an opponent’s use of force, and thus make use of force less likely,” said Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, a US-based think-tank on Asian security and public policy. “They would complicate (China’s) People’s Liberation Army planning in a variety of scenarios.” Then-US president George W Bush approved the sale of eight conventional submarines to Taiwan in April 2001, but they never materialised as Washington focused on its development of nuclear subs. Germany and Spain, two of the world’s few submarine exporting countries, have also declined to supply Taiwan in what commentators interpret as fear of offending China. Aside from two ageing subs built in the 1940s, Taiwan’s navy operates two other Dutch-built submarines that were commissioned in the late 1980s. The number is in stark contrast to the Chinese navy, which now owns more than 60 submarines, including 14 that are nuclear-powered. An official evaluation this year of a potential domestic submarine-building project was “pretty positive”, said lawmaker Lin Yu-fang, of the government’s defence committee. “The government might set aside a budget to officially launch the Indigenous Defence Submarine project,” he said, though the proposals have yet to be given the green light. Taiwan will seek to collaborate with the US on the project, says Lin. The US remains the island’s leading arms supplier, despite a lack of diplomatic ties. Taiwan produced 130 Indigenous Defence Fighter (IDF) jets with technological aid from the US in the 1990s. That project came after the US had refused to sell jet fighters to Taiwan, under pressure from Beijing. Lin and a parliamentary group recently returned from Washington, where they discussed defence supply plans with government officials and congressmen, focusing on the potential sub programme. “They used to be cold on the issue (of submarines), but this time was different. They were listening attentively when we raised the issue again. They have changed their attitude because we have become active on the deal,” Lin said. Supporters of the project say the US could reduce political pressure from Beijing if it supplies fighting systems and know-how, rather than the submarines themselves. For now, Taiwan’s two World War II-era Guppy submarines - including the Hai Pao, whose name means ‘Seal’ - remain central to their fleet. Taiwan bought the Hai Pao, then called Tusk, from the US in 1973 and the vintage sub recently returned from the island’s annual biggest naval wargame. The fleet also includes the ageing Hai Shih (Sea Lion) - another former US submarine built in the 1940s. Hai Pao’s captain Liu Si-wei told AFP that his US peers were astonished to hear the antique subs were still in service. Liu finished an advanced submarine officer training programme in the US last year and several of his classmates are now captains of US nuclear-powered submarines. “When they heard that the two submarines were still on active duty, several of my classmates said ‘fantastic’. They told me, if permitted, they would like very much to have a look at them,” Liu said from on board the Hai Pao, docked at the southern Tso-ying naval base. The navy is planning to spend more than T$800mn ($26.35mn) to overhaul one of the old subs next year. Both will get new hulls as they are currently unable to dive more than 20m - less than a tenth of their design depth - due to warped pressure hulls and metal fatigue. The island’s ultimate ambitions to build its own subs are not pie in the sky, says Stokes - Taiwan has already built a 400,000-tonne oil tanker and seven navy frigates, among other vessels. “The submarine programme would mostly likely be based on a new design or a significant modification of an existing design,” he said. “Taiwan’s shipbuilding industry is one of the best in the world.”
Indian Navy to procure 2 midget submarines.
The Indian Navy has received clearance to procure two Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) to be used by its elite Marine Commandos (Marcos) for special operations. The clearance was a part of the Rs 80,000-crore string of military purchases cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council in New Delhi last week. SDVs are mini-submarines carrying 2 to 6 divers for specialised maritime warfare tasks. They are also used for clandestine marine operations. According to sources, the procurement, worth around Rs 2,000 crore, will include the Indian Navy and the ministry of defence (MoD) selecting either of the five government or two private Indian shipyards for building the SDVs. “The selected shipbuilder will later enter into a joint venture (JV) with a foreign company to manufacture the vessels here under licence,” said an IN source. This arrangement is under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category of the latest Defence Procurement Policy in 2011, which was born during erstwhile defense minister A.K. Antony’s regime. The government shipyards include the MoD-controlled Mazgaon Docks Limited, Goa Shipyard Limited, Hindustan Shipyard Limited in Vishakhapatnam, the Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers and the ministry of shipping-controlled Cochin Shipyard Limited. The private shipyards are operated by Larsen and Toubro, along with Pipavav and ABG Shipyards in Gujarat. “The vessels should reach the Indian Navy after around four years from the signing of the contract between the shipyard and the Navy. An empowered committee will inspect the shipyards and identify one based on its capacity, experience and expertise,” the officer added. The SDV procurement would be an “enormous” breather for the Marcos, who are currently without such a system after the Italian built Cosmos CE-2F/X100 two-man midget submarines was phased out. Mini-submarines are used for clandestine marine operations like secretly inserting ‘frogmen’ into enemy waters, maritime patrols for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering and even rescuing sinking crew. They can also be used for underwater inspection, laying sea mines against enemy ships or harbour patrols in shallow waters. The boats are a “relatively” easier system to manufacture compared to full-sized submarines but can also be weaponised with torpedoes if required. A major advantage with the SDVs or midget submarines is their near-invisibility to Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR) systems due to their extremely small size and consequent low levels of noise. Ship-towed SONAR or helicopter dropped ‘Sono Buoys’ have not been known to successfully detect midget submarines. From a full-sized submarine, an SDV could be launched from the back where it is mounted. A surface ship meanwhile could lower an SDV into the water using a crane. The Japanese pioneered the use of midget submarines during the second World War with incredible successes against the United States Navy. They were torpedo armed boats or ‘human torpedoes’ for suicide missions.
U.S. Navy Impressed with New Russian Attack Boat.
Russian Project 885 submarine during sea trials. One of the U.S. Navy’s top submarine officers was so impressed with Russia’s new Project 885 nuclear attack boats that he had a model of K-329 Severodvinsk built for his office. Rear Adm. Dave Johnson, Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA) program executive officer (PEO) submarines said he had the model of Severodvinsk placed outside his office in a common area so that he could look at it every day on his way to his office. “We’ll be facing tough potential opponents. One only has to look at the Severodvinsk, Russia’s version of a [nuclear guided missile submarine] (SSGN). I am so impressed with this ship that I had Carderock build a model from unclassified data.” Johnson said last week during the Naval Submarine League’s symposium in Falls Church, Va. “The rest of the world’s undersea capability never stands still.” The Russian attack boat had been in construction since 1993 and only entered sea trials late in 2011. The boat finally became operational earlier this year. A cash-strapped Russian Federation had to repeatedly delay completion of the submarine in the chaos that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Severodvinsk is the most capable Russian attack submarine ever built and leverages many of the technologies the Soviet Union invested in during the 1970s and 1980s. The 13,800-ton, 390-foot long, submarine is highly automated vessel with a crew of only 32 officers and 58 enlisted submariners. It is far quieter than previous Russian submarines and has a maximum “silent” speed of about 20 knots. The U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World said some reports suggest the vessel might have a maximum speed of between 35 and 40 knots. However, most Russian reports state a maximum speed of 35 knots. Like most new nuclear submarine designs, Severodvinsk’s reactor is designed to last for the life of the boat. According the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), while the new Russian submarine is quieter than the Improved Los Angeles-class boats, the new vessel is not quite as silent as the Seawolf or Virginia-class. However, the Soviets were always only lagging slightly behind U.S. in quieting technology according to Navy sources. The Russians are already building improved versions of the Yasen design. Unlike most Soviet submarine designs, the Yasen-class boats do not make use of a double-hull—instead it has hybrid design with a lighter structure over the vessel’s pressure hull according to Russia media reports. Another unique feature for a Russian vessel is that it incorporates a spherical bow sonar called the Irtysh-Amfora for the first time. As a result, Severodvinsk has its torpedo tubes located at about mid-ship like U.S. submarines. The vessel has eight torpedo tubes, four of which are 650mm tubes while the rest are 533mm tubes. Combat Fleets of the World estimates that the Yasen-class might carry as many as 30 torpedoes.
Like most Russian attack submarines, the vessel’s primary weapons are in the form of heavy anti-ship missiles. The boat has 24 missile tubes which can carry the supersonic NPO Mashinostroyeniya P-800 Oniks anti-ship missile which can hit targets roughly 200 nautical miles away. Severodvinsk can also carry Novator RK-55 Granat nuclear-capable 1,600 nautical mile-range subsonic land attack cruise missiles. Additionally, the Yasen-class boats can also launch the 3M14 Kalibr and 3M54 Biryuza land attack and anti-ship missiles, which have a roughly 300-mile range, though its torpedo tubes. It also carries 91R anti-submarine missiles and has the capability to lay mines along with its normal complement of torpedoes. Some Russian sources such as Russia Beyond the Headlines suggest that Severodvinsk is equipped with active anti-torpedo defenses and some sort of anti-air capability. The later would not be unprecedented, the Project 941 Akula—known better as the Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine—was equipped with a 9K38 Igla surface-to-air missile system for ship self-defense. Russia is expected to build eight Yasen-class boats. Since Severodvinsk took almost two decades to finish, the subsequent boats have many technological refinements to improve on the original Project 885 design. The next two Yasen-class boats are already under construction at the Sevmash shipyards in Severodvinsk, Russia. Kazan was laid down in July of 2009 while Novosibirsk was laid down July of 2013.
You Can Buy James Bond's Submarine Lotus Espirit For $1 Million.
Search no longer, we have a genuine 1977 Lotus Esprit S1, which was also once driven by James Bond. Also, it's a submarine.
This incredible artefact is an actual prop from the 1977 James Bond movie 'The Spy Who Loved Me', and will only cost you $1 million on eBay to get your hands on. The item - which as the oddly misspelled description points out is real, though not road worthy or drivable in its current state - was posted by the current owner The Dezer Hollywood Cars Museum, following a restoration on the US TV show American Restoration. The car is actually one of six models used for the film shoot, some of which were actual submarines with a Lotus shell built around it, others of which were actual cars. Three of the cars still exist. So yes, there are other items like this out there - but you'll be in good company if you buy it. Billionaire Space X and Tesla founder Elon Musk has one, and reportedly is planning to rebuild the car so that it can actually transform into a submarine and drive under water.
Travel gadgets for the super-rich.
It's not just luxury sailing vessels that are being exhibited at this year's Monaco Yacht Show. Instead, a wide variety of high-tech water gadgets are now being offered to the crowds of discerning millionaires attending the prestigious event. If the wealthy customers ever get bored of sunning themselves on the decks of their mammoth gin palaces, they can splash out personal submarines, jetpacks, even a 'walking' boat.
The £110,000 Jetlev-Flyer - a water-powered 'jetpack' that can hover up to 30 metres in the air. Top of the shopping list is the Jetlev-Flyer – a water-powered 'jetpack' that can hover up to 30 metres in the air and reach speeds of up to 22mph. Designed by Canadian engineer Raymond Li over ten years, the device costs £110,000. The contraption is connected to a 10-metre hose which sucks up water before it is spat out through two nozzles. The machine can be used for up to three hours at a time, while the engine also doubles as a flotation device. It is one of dozens of high-end accessories being sold by Superyacht Toys & Tenders, who have a stall at this year's event. The Jetlev-Flyer is connected to a 10m hose which sucks up water before it is spat out through two nozzles. Aound 200 of the water-based jetpacks have been sold across the world, with the company's managing director Josh Richardson explaining: 'Generally people are getting more adventurous with their luxury toys.' Also on sale is the $1.7m (£1.03m) DeepFlight Super Falcon, a submersible similar to the one used in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. At 21ft-long with a wingspan of 9ft, the futuristic-looking craft can reach depths of 400ft and speed through the ocean at nearly seven miles per hour. It is able to do barrel rolls underwater, dive straight down, or make sharp turns. It was created by British inventor Graham Hawkes who also developed the machine used in the film starring Roger Moore.
The DeepFlight Super Falcon - a submersible similar to the one used in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. The machine costs £1m and can reach depths of 400ft. The DeepFlight SuperFalcon was created by British inventor Graham Hawkes for Hawkes Ocean Technologies, who also developed the machine used in 007 film For Your Eyes Only, starring Roger Moore. The submarine, which has been described as the 'Lear Jet of the seas, has a carbon fibre hull that encompasses two cockpits with dual flight controls. It can also remain underwater for 24 hours. 'Just as private individuals are now able to explore space, we see our submarines as opening up the oceans for private exploration,' said Karen Hawkes, who founded the DeepFlight company with engineer husband Graham in 1996. 'Except unlike spacecraft, these owners get to the pilot their own vessels.'The Triton deep sea mini-submarine is another underwater device proving popular with the super-rich. The three-metre-long, two-man craft has been specifically designed for mega-yachts and comes with a hefty $2m (£1.2m) pricetag.
The Triton deep sea mini-submarine is another underwater device proving popular with the super-rich. It is powered by four thrusters and has a top speed of 2.5 knots when submerged. There is enough air on board for a 12-hour trip and it can dive to a depth of 1,000ft. The 3.3ton high-density acrylic bubble gives a 360-degree view of the deep, while the luxurious cockpit has air-con and leather-lined seats.'It gives clients the opportunity to see a part of our planet that no human has ever visited before,' said Marc Depp, the company's sales and marketing manager. 'Many of our clients are also concerned about their legacy and the condition of the oceans, and make their submarines available to marine scientists.' The company currently build between four and six submarines a year.
Truong-Sa Submarine ready for testing.
Hoa has received notices from the Naval Academy and Ministry of National Defence about the formalities needed to test the sub at sea. He said that he is following the procedures to obtain a license and is now drawing up a testing plan. “I hope the sub can go to the open sea by the fourth quarter of the year. I am happy about the state’s great interest in the submarine,” he said. Prior to that, Hoa said in early August that a group of officials of the Ministry of National Defence would come to meet Hoa and examine the status of the submarine and its technical parameters. The officials would report the examination results to the ministry’s leaders. If the examination shows good results, the ministry will set up a plan to help test the submarine in the safest and most effective way. Hoa is still busy working with the submarine to upgrade it. In May 2014, he created two navigating wings on two sides of the sub’s body, helping it move more easily when it dives. “Imagine how a fish swims. This will be exactly the way my submarine operates,” he said. The engineer also realized that the temperature inside the sub during the operation was very high, thus affecting the crew. Believing that the cause was the engine and exhaust pipe, he decided to make improvements so that the equipment can be cooled with seawater. “The problem has been settled. The temperature in the cabin is stable and cool enough for people inside,” he said, while declining to give details about the improvements. The engineer spoke about his ambitious plan with Truong Sa and the other submarine models he plans to make in the future. “Why don’t we think of developing submarines for civil purposes?” he said. “Submarines will be very useful for many different economic sectors and people’s welfare. We are seriously lacking diving equipment”. Hoa went on to say that the next-generation versions of Truong Sa submarine would be capable of handling many different tasks. “They would serve as diving equipment to help explore the seabed and minerals, conduct archaeology projects and find fish shoals,” he said. Dr. Nguyen Van Khai, a physicist, who praised Hoa’s invention, has suggested that the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of National Defence should recognize Hoa’s submarine as a national scientific research project. If so, Hoa and his associates would then have more money to continue their project. “I hope the State will run a program on manufacturing mini-submarines for economic development,” Khai said. “This work is absolutely within our reach, and we will not have to buy subs from foreign manufacturers,” he added.
DeepFlight’s pioneering personal submarines mimic “flight” underwater.
The DeepFlight Dragon, is easy to navigate and among the safest of its kind. Created by an underwater aviation company, the Dragon’s unique positive buoyancy system allows the craft to automatically rise to the surface the moment the craft is either turned off or loses power. Where traditional submersibles rely on a complicated set of valves, ballasts, and drop weight systems to either surface or sink, DeepFlight’s personal crafts are so simple to use that founder Graham Hawkes eventually envisions their use at resorts and rental markets all over the world. Graham Hawkes says, “There aren’t many people right now who are flying underwater. We’ve trained fewer people to fly these things than there are astronauts. We’re keen on removing that limit, and if the new Dragon goes into resorts then that will change things and give more people the experience, but I expect it will be some time yet before production gets to the stage where the price begins to fall markedly.” With an initial base price of around $1.2 million, the Dragon is built with safety and ease-of-use in mind. The two-person Dragon is equipped with a proprietary Dive Manager software that controls and monitors critical functions, effectively eliminating the need for an accompanying professional pilot. Another safety feature included is an inflatable launch platform that is designed to prevent injury while setting up the craft for launch or load.
“We don’t want anybody hurt and one of the difficulties of a small submersible is that they don’t have any freeboard (the distance from the waterline to the deck) and the only way that we could see to ensure the safety of newbies clambering excitedly all over it without anything tipping over, was to put it on a much bigger footprint and to put an inflatable platform underneath it that lifts it out of the water, so that’s what we’re doing,” says Hawkes. Oriented around vertical thrust to create a hover-like effect underwater, the Dragon easily fits inside any yacht garage or deck storage lane. It can descend to 400 ft (120 m), weighs 3,968 lb (1,800 kg), and is under 5 ft (1.5 m) in height. And if you’ve got some real cash to burn, the Dragon’s luxury counterpart, the DeepFlight Super Falcon Mark II (picture below), features a carbon fiber interior, a stainless steel falcon hood ornament, and two 48 V lithium-phosphate batteries.
Although you won’t see these personal submarines hauled across freeways by underwater weekend enthusiasts (the Super Falcon will run you a mere $1.5 million), there is a chance you’ll be able to rent one of these the next time you find yourself vacationing in Hawaii.
Submarine builder to display at Monaco Yacht Show.
Since 2008, Triton Submarines, has been building and developing manned submersibles for a variety of applications in some of the planet’s harshest environments. By engineering its products with fully transparent passenger compartments, Triton has set itself apart in its field for providing a unique and complete underwater visual experience. “The submarine we sell the most is the 3300/3 which carries three passengers and is capable of diving to 3,300 feet,” said Marc Deppe, vice president of sales and marketing. “Counting the ones we have on order, our last eight units have been this model and they are all going to private yacht owners for use recreationally.” Deppe said despite the steady business, there have been numerous requests for a lighter, sleeker model that still is capable of carrying three occupants. “The Triton 1000/3 LP is going to be really well received,” Deppe said. “We’ve been handling a lot of inquiries and had some of the biggest yacht builders in the world request that smaller scale so they can insert it into their construction plans.” The 1000/3 LP will measure only 5.6 feet tall and could be deployed with a crane capable of handling 7,650 pounds. It will be able to travel to 1,000 feet of depth. Triton’s model line now includes eleven models configured for two to eight passengers with depth ratings from 1,000 feet (305 meters) to 5,500 feet (1,675 meters) as well as the full ocean depth rated Triton 36000/3. Yacht-based submersibles continue to gain popularity in the yachting community. Until now, size and weight restrictions for existing tender garages have kept many yachts from integrating a sub. “The Triton 1000/3 LP will make it possible for most larger yachts to carry a submersible. It’s an absolute game changer, and we are excited to be introducing the design in Monaco.” At only 5.6 feet tall (1,700 mm) with a modest crane weight of 7,650 pounds (3475 kg) the Triton 1000/3 LP is the world's lightest and most compact three-passenger deep diving submersible (1,000 foot/305 meter depth rating). The Triton 1000/3 LP design was driven by the demand for a submersible design that could be integrated into existing superyacht tender garages without the need for a major refit. The design of 1000/3 LP utilizes a forward acrylic hyper-hemisphere for the two passengers and a rear steel hyper-hemisphere for the pilot and internal systems. This arrangement utilizes smaller spheres while also providing for a design that does not require a large external frame. “Offering yacht owners a submersible option that does not require a major refit to their existing vessel or the addition of a shadow vessel will bring submersibles into the mainstream. In the past, many owners who have expressed interest in a submersible have run into significant integration challenges and subsequently shelved the idea. The Triton 1000/3 LP is an elegant solution to this problem.
Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes by Chinese supersonic submarine.
China has moved a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours.
New technology developed by a team of scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology's Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab has made it easier for a submarine, or torpedo, to travel at extremely high speeds underwater. Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering, said the team's innovative approach meant they could now create the complicated air "bubble" required for rapid underwater travel. "We are very excited by its potential," he said. Water produces more friction, or drag, on an object than air, which means conventional submarines cannot travel as fast as an aircraft. However, during the cold war, the Soviet military eveloped a technology called supercavitation, which involves enveloping a submerged vessel inside an air bubble to avoid problems caused by water drag. A Soviet supercavitation torpedo called Shakval was able to reach a speed of 370km/h or more - much faster than any other conventional torpedoes. In theory, a supercavitating vessel could reach the speed of sound underwater, or about 5,800km/h, which would reduce the journey time for a transatlantic underwater cruise to less than an hour, and for a transpacific journey to about 100 minutes, according to a report by California Institute of Technology in 2001. However, supercavitation technology has faced two major problems. First, the submerged vessel has needed to be launched at high speeds, approaching 100km/h, to generate and maintain the air bubble. Second, it is extremely difficult - if not impossible - to steer the vessel using conventional mechanisms, such as a rudder, which are inside the bubble without any direct contact with water. As a result, its application has been limited to unmanned vessels, such as torpedoes, but nearly all of these torpedoes were fired in a straight line because they had limited ability to turn. Li said the team of Chinese scientists had found an innovative means of addressing both problems. Once in the water, the team's supercavitation vessel would constantly "shower" a special liquid membrane on its own surface. Although this membrane would be worn off by water, in the meantime it could significantly reduce the water drag on the vessel at low speed. After its speed had reached 75km/h or more the vessel would enter the supercavitation state. The man-made liquid membrane on the vessel surface could help with steering because, with precise control, different levels of friction could be created on different parts of the vessel. "Our method is different from any other approach, such as vector propulsion," or thrust created by an engine, Li said. "By combining liquid-membrane technology with supercavitation, we can significantly reduce the launch challenges and make cruising control easier." However, Li said many problems still needed to be solved before supersonic submarine travel became feasible. Besides the control issue, a powerful underwater rocket engine still had to be developed to give the vessel a longer range. The effective range of the Russian supercavitation torpedoes, for example, was only between 11 km and 15 km. Li said the supercavitation technology was not limited only to military use. In future, it could benefit civilian underwater transport, or water sports such as swimming. "If a swimsuit can create and hold many tiny bubbles in water, it can significantly reduce the water drag; swimming in water could be as effortless as flying in the sky," he said. Besides Russia, countries such as Germany, Iran and the United States have been developing vessels or weapons using supercavitation technology. Professor Wang Guoyu, the head of the Fluid Mechanics Laboratory at Beijing Institute of Technology who is leading another state-funded research project on supercavitation, said the global research community had been troubled for decades by the lack of innovative ideas to address the huge scientific and engineering challenges. "The size of the bubble is difficult to control, and the vessel is almost impossible to steer," he said. While cruising at high speed during supercavitation, a fin could be snapped off if it touched the water because of the liquid's far greater density. Despite many scientists worldwide working on similar projects, the latest progress remains unclear because they are regarded as military secrets. Wang, a member of the water armament committee of the China Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, said even he had been kept in the dark about recent supercavitation developments in China. "The primary drive still comes from the military, so most research projects are shrouded in secrecy," he said.
China's DIY subs.
Farmers and hobbyists are building their own submarines for work and for pleasure.
A worker climbs up from Zhang Wuyi's newly designed unmanned submarine that captures sea cucumbers, during a test operation at an artificial pool near a shipyard in Wuhan, Hubei province. Zhang has made eight miniature submarines with several fellow engineers (Reuters).
Zhang Wuyi looks up as he squats under a suction pipe of his new submarine that captures sea cucumbers. His submarines are mainly designed for harvesting aquatic products(Reuters).
Zhang sits in his double-seater submarine during a test operation at an artificial pool near a shipyard in Wuhan, Hubei province. Zhang's submarines have a diving depths of 20-30m, and can travel for 10 hours(Reuters).
Zhang sits in his newly made multi-seater submarine at his new workshop. One of his submarines was recently sold to a businessman in Dalian, Liaoning Province, China, at a price of 100,000 yuan (£10,400, $15,900) (Reuters).
A worker paints a single-seater submarine designed by Zhang and his fellow engineers. Zhang, a farmer, is interested in scientific inventions(Reuters).
A worker polishes the surface of an unfinished miniature submarine at a Zhang's workshop in Qingling village, on the outskirts of Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei province. This home-made miniature submarine – Shuguang Hao – is 3.6m long, 1.8m high, has a maximum diving depth of 20m, and can travel at 20kmph for 10 hours underwater(Jason Lee/Reuters).
Tao Xiangli stands on his homemade submarine in a courtyard in Beijing. The amateur inventor says his submarine is made from old oil barrels, but is fully functional with a periscope, depth control tanks, electric motors and two propellers(Reinhard Krause/ Reuters)
Tan Yong finishes diving his home-made submarine at a lake in Dangjiangkou, Hubei province. The characters translate into the name of the submarine, 'Xiyangyang'(Reuters).
Tan (R) prepares to operate his homemade submarine at a lake in Dangjiangkou, Hubei province. The submarine weights more than 1,000kg, and reached a depth of around 10m during its test drive.
Star of 'Red October' returns from last deployment.
The submarine that starred in "The Hunt for Red October," the USS Dallas, returned from its last overseas deployment Monday. Next year, after 33 years in the fleet, the Dallas will be inactivated. Tom Clancy's Cold War thriller made the Dallas famous, but in Navy circles it is better known for being the first attack submarine to carry a dry-deck shelter, which houses a vehicle for launching and recovering special operations forces. "Of all the submarines that would be finishing up their service life, there are a couple out there that people know by name, and Dallas is one of them," said Capt. David A. Roberts, who commanded Dallas from 2007 to 2009. "It kind of adds to the moment. 'The Hunt for Red October' submarine we all know and love from the movies is going to be finishing up its service life soon."But, Roberts said, he always tells people who ask about the Dallas that it has "done a lot more than just being in the movies.""Think about how the world has changed," said Roberts, who now leads the Submarine Learning Center. "The missions Dallas was built for initially back then, in the late 1970s and early '80s, are so much different than in 2013. And she has stood the test of time and been able to keep step with the changing world, the challenging world."The Dallas (SSN 700) returned to the Naval Submarine Base on Monday after operating in Europe and the Middle East and traveling more than 34,000 miles during nearly seven months at sea.While all deployments are memorable, Cmdr. Jack Houdeshell, the current commanding officer of the Dallas, said the last deployment comes second only to the maiden deployment for a submarine.And on this deployment, Houdeshell added, the crew and the ship "showed the world what we can still do."The Dallas will continue to support training and other missions until September, when the preparations begin in earnest for the decommissioning, Houdeshell said. One of 42 Los Angeles-class attack submarines remaining in the fleet, the Dallas was commissioned in 1981 as the seventh member in a class of 61 submarines. It has deployed to every operational area around the world ever since.The submarine circumnavigated the globe and transited the Panama Canal in 1984 and participated in Operations Desert Shield/Storm in the early 1990s.
Russia Floats out ‘Stealth’ Submarine for Black Sea Fleet.
A St. Petersburg-based shipyard floated out the first of six Varshavyanka-class diesel-electric submarines to be delivered to the Black Sea Fleet in the next two years. The much-anticipated delivery of these submarines, dubbed by the US Navy as “black holes in the ocean” because they are nearly undetectable when submerged, is a key part of Russia’s naval strategy in the Mediterranean, where Moscow has recently deployed a permanent task force consisting of some 10 surface ships. Construction of the Novorossiisk submarine started at Admiralty Shipyards in August 2010, followed by the Rostov-on-Don sub in November 2011 and the Stary Oskol in August 2012, RIA Novosti reported. The Varshavyanka-class (Project 636) is an improved version of the Kilo-class submarines and features advanced stealth technology, extended combat range and the ability to strike land, surface and underwater targets. These submarines are mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine missions in relatively shallow waters. The vessels, crewed by 52 submariners, have an underwater speed of 20 knots, a cruising range of 400 miles (electric propulsion) with the ability to patrol for 45 days. They are armed with 18 torpedoes and eight surface-to-air missiles.The Russian Black Sea Fleet has not received new submarines for decades and currently operates only one boat – the Kilo-class Alrosa, which joined the navy in 1990.Commenting on the floating out of the Novorossiisk, Russian naval expert Capt. 1st Rank (Ret.) Mikhail Nenashev said Russia needs at least 10 Varshavyanka-class submarines in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean to protect the country’s interests in the region.The expert specifically cited the presence of US warships equipped with the formidable Aegis integrated missile system in the Mediterranean and the deployment of US missile defenses in coastal countries around the region.
RAN Submarine Force Simulates Sea Evacuation.
In an exercise dubbed as BLACK CARILLON 2013, members of Navy's Submarine Force simulated under the sea evacuation from HMAS Farncomb. The simulation was made from 112 metres deep of water inside the James Fisher Rescue Service LR5 submersible.James Fisher Rescue Service LR5 submersible weighs 21.5 tonne. During the simulation, it was lifted onto the deck through a rescue vessel. The "passengers" were then transferred to decompression chambers without being exposed to the outside air pressure."Submariners are an important part of naval capability. Should the unthinkable happen, it is essential that we have established and well practiced procedures in place to rescue personnel," Commander Submarine Force, Captain Mark Potter, RAN, said."During BLACK CARILLON, Navy worked closely with defence partners and contractor James Fisher Defence to mobilise and test the equipment on the east coast. It was also the first time that ADV Ocean Shield was used as the mother ship. Her size and ability to dynamically position proved to be an invaluable capability during the rescue operation. Navy's underwater medical specialists also played a vital part in the exercise. Type B decompression chambers were tested and life-saving medical techniques aimed at preventing and responding to decompression sickness were simulated," said Captain Potter.By routinely testing our procedures, we provide confidence to our submarine workforce," as explained by Captain Potter. The simulation was part of a three-week submarine escape-and-rescue exercise held off the east coast of Australia.
The LR5 submersible is carefully piloted along HMAS Farncomb's outer casing to conduct a transfer of personnel from the sea floor in the East Australian Exercise Area during Exercise Black Carillon 2013.
Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Submariner Tim Cummins opens the outer casing hatch of HMAS Farncomb as he looks up into the skirt of the LR5 submersible during Exercise Black Carillon 2013.
The LR5 submersible is launched from the side of ADV Ocean Shield, as it prepares for another dive in the East Australian Exercise Area during Exercise Black Carillon 2013.As a member of the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Organisation, Australia is tasked to provide international support should an Australian submarine be disabled. Meanwhile, Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) announced that they have signed a multi-million dollar contract with ASC Pty Ltd to update the control management and monitoring system for the Royal Australian Navy's Collins Class submarines."Work under the $57 million contract will focus on updating electronic components and porting the software to operate on the new system. The current Ship Control Management and Monitoring System has performed effectively and reliably since the Collins class entered service in the 1990s. However, it is essential to upgrade the current system to ensure the system can be maintained for the remaining service life of the Collins Class fleet," Mr Johnston said.
Used to be that if you were aboard a sunken submarine, your best hope for rescue was to grow a set of gills—fast. Now, however, the US Navy can reach and extract sailors who are in over their heads with this deep-diving 16-passenger ROV.The Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System (SRDRS) is a 183-ton remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of diving 2,000 feet below the waves, mating with virtually any nation's disabled submarine, and ferrying up to 155 crew members to the surface. The SRDRS has been developed to replace the less capable Mystic class Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV), the US Navy's existing sub rescue system, which requires tethering to a mother submarine and takes much longer to deploy during an emergency.The new system consists of four parts: the Assessment/Underwater Work System (AUWS), the Submarine Decompression System (SDS), the Pressurized Rescue Module System (PRMS), and various PRMS Mission Support Equipment. The AUWS includes the Atmospheric Dive Suit 2000 (ADS2000), a one-man, pressurized hard suit that allows a first responder to quickly locate and inspect the downed sub on the seafloor, then find and clear the rescue hatch. A PRMS, such as the US Navy's PRM Falcon, is then launched from a floating mother ship to descend to the wreck.Once it has mated with the rescue hatch, two attendants help evacuate and transport sailors from the sub directly to the surface, maintaining a pressure of up to 5 atmospheres (this saves loads of time waiting to decompress each shuttle-load on the way back up top). Once topside, evacuees are loaded into the self-contained SDS, which consists of a hyperbaric transfer chamber connecting a pair of 36-person deck-mounted decompression chambers.At just 183 tons, the SRS is small enough to fit on most commercial and military transport aircraft and seafaring vessels.The system can move via land, sea or air from its home port, at the Deep Submergence Unit at the Naval Air Station San Diego, CA , to arrive within 72 hours at an emergency site anywhere in the world.
Gulf Navies Seek Solutions to Iran Midget Sub Threat.
An Iranian Ghadir-class mini submarine moves into the Arabian Gulf from the southern port of Bandar Abbas last November.
The head of the United Arab Emirates' Navy said Iran's mini subs pose an imminent threat to maritime security in the region. Iranian midget submarines are an imminent threat to maritime security in the Arabian Gulf, and regional naval leaders are looking for immediate options “within reach” to counter the threat.That means acquiring anti-submarine weaponry in the short term and new submarines in the longer term, said Rear Adm. Ibrahim al Musharrakh, commander of United Arab Emirates (UAE) naval forces.“Anti-submarine operations are causing a real challenge to our units in the Arabian Gulf waters due to the small subs that are being used in shallow waters, which creates a challenge for sonar systems to detect them,” Musharrakh told the Gulf Naval Commanders Conference here Nov. 6. “Furthermore, the merchant traffic creates clutter and noise that diminishes the capability of submersible devices to spot and helps the mini subs to operate without being spotted.”The Iranian Navy and Revolutionary Guard Command have launched three classes of submarines, two of which are small subs, since 2007. The programs, however, have been very secretive and limited information has been released on them by the Iranian naval command.According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a nonprofit nuclear watchdog, three Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines were commissioned from 1992 to 1996. They are called Tareq-class subs in Iran.Iran reportedly paid US $600 million for each boat, and they are all based at Bandar Abbas in the Strait of Hormuz. Two of the Kilo-class submarines are operational at any one time and are occasionally deployed in the eastern mouth of the strait, the Gulf of Oman or the Arabian Sea.However, the real threat is from the smaller submarines deployed in 2007. According to the NTI, that’s when a wave of deployments began of small Ghadir-class and Nahang-class midget submarines for use in shallow coastal waters.NTI reports that the number of operating Ghadir-class submarines ranges from 10 to 19.The Ghadir-class is also referred to as a sub-class of the Yono class, suggesting that the submarines may be based on North Korean technology, although the level of North Korean involvement is unknown, the organization said.The midget subs are operated by both the Iranian Navy and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN). Their operational capabilities include firing torpedoes (both the Ghadir and the Nahang class have two, 533mm tubes), laying mines for anti-shipping operations, as well as insertion of special forces into enemy territory. Iran is also experimenting with wet submersibles. The Sabehat-15 GPS-equipped two-seat submersible swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV), designed by the Esfahan Underwater Research Center, has undergone testing with both the Iranian Navy and the IRCGN.Due to their limited endurance and payload, NTI’s report on Iranian Submarine Capabilities released in July states that the SDVs are primarily used for mining, reconnaissance and special operations and are restricted to operating in coastal waters.
Subs are Here.
One interesting 21st century development has been the growing availability (and falling prices) of “recreational submarines.” Some military organizations, like U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command), keep an eye on all this because some of these civilian designs have potential military applications. One example is the Seabreacher line of submersibles. These craft weigh 658 kg (1,450 pounds), are 5.24 meters (17.2 feet) long, 1.06 meters (3.5 feet) wide, and seats two. Top speed underwater is 45 kilometers an hour and twice that on the surface. The 250 horsepower engine provides waterjet propulsion and very precise maneuverability. Seabreacher is not a true submarine, as it can only submerge as deep as its periscope mast allows (two meters/six feet max) because that mast (coming out of the dorsal fin) provides air and exhaust circulation for the engine and people on board. But that mast is difficult to spot from a distance and also carries video cameras and communications antenna (for cell phones or radio). What makes the Seabreacher really unique (as a consumer product) is its ability to quickly leap out of the water like a killer whale. Seabreacher costs from $70,000 to $100,000 (or more, depending on custom features). For military purposes Seabreacher is ideal for scouting or landing small teams of scuba equipped SEALs (who can hang on to a Seabreacher equipped with external handles, as some already are for stunt work). Approaching slowly underwater, once the SEAL commandos have been delivered, the unencumbered Seabreacher can return to the mothership (or larger sub) at high speed. Seabreacher can also be used to scout a hostile shore, as any number of sensors can be mounted on the mast. Moreover, there is space in the Seabreacher for the new compact sonars to help it navigate shallow coastal waters or avoid naval mines. The manufacturer offers custom builds and if any Seabreachers have been built for military customers it is going to be kept secret. Since the 1990s there have been a lot of recreational submarines. Luxury boat builders have even built submarine yachts. Submarine construction technology has come a long way in the past century, and it's possible to build these boats at an affordable ($10-200 million) cost. They are safe and there are over a hundred of them out there. A few companies have gained a lot of experience building subs for non-military underwater operations (academic research, oil exploration), which has created a body of information and cadre of technicians who can build these recreational subs. One of the largest civilian submarine yards is in Dubai, where dozens have been built so far and construction continues. Another large operation in the U.S. has built most of the scientific subs over the last two decades. The submersible pleasure craft look like streamlined yachts while on the surface. The upper deck, including the bridge, is outside the pressure hull. When submerging, everyone goes below and the upper deck gets flooded. If you get close to one of these yachts it becomes obvious that they are built to dive. Military subs are still not used to encountering this civilian traffic underwater. The military boats have the right of way, but military boats are now warned to exercise extra care when approaching coastal areas used by civilian subs. Owners of these luxury subs tend to be secretive, and the builders have agreed to some government oversight, especially to make sure militarized subs, that can carry torpedoes or mines, are not built. But there is no law against anyone owning one of these submarines, and it's feared that it's only a matter of time before drug dealers, gun runners, or even terrorists, get their hands on some of them. Some police officials believe this has already happened, but no one is saying much. The civilian subs don't dive as deep as military subs and are not built for combat. They have staterooms and large windows. But they do have carrying capacity, and that could be put to criminal uses. Already, Colombian gangs have been caught trying to build subs, using Russian advisors initially and later just employing the same tech used for recreational subs. Over a hundred submersibles (a sub that travels just below the surface) have been caught carrying cocaine. The age of privately owned subs is here.
Vietnam To Get Two More Russian Submarines Next Year
Russia will deliver the two more Varshavyanka class diesel-electric submarines to Vietnam in 2014, a Russian official was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. The Varshavyanka-class (Project 636) is an improved version of the Kilo-class submarines and features advanced stealth technology, extended combat range and the ability to strike land, surface and underwater targets. Vietnam in 2009 ordered six of the Russian-made submarines -- dubbed “black holes in the ocean” by the US Navy because they are nearly undetectable when submerged -- in a step seen as an effort to counterbalance China’s expanding maritime influence in the region. The first craft in the order is to be loaded on a stevedore barge on November 11 and towed to Vietnam, where it will be officially transferred to the country’s navy, the report said. “The second vessel will be delivered in the beginning of next year, possibly in January, while the third will be also transferred in 2014,” a Russian official was quoted as saying in the report.
Iran launches its first submarine for tourists.
Iran has launched its first submarine for tourists in the Persian Gulf waters, an all-Iranian-made undersea vehicle. State TV says the sub has been dubbed Morvarid, or Pearl in Farsi, and has the capacity to carry four people per voyage. It says the vessel is four meters (13 feet) long and three meters (9.8 feet) in both width and height. Friday's report says the submarine will serve tourists in Iran's prime tourist spot in the Gulf. Morvarid has been entirely designed and manufactured by Iranian experts. The TV also says it has a speed of up to 12 knots, has a diesel generator but can be electrically-powered for up to six to 10 hours. Iran's Navy has several Russian-made and smaller Iranian-built submarines in service.
Germans look to sink Swedish sub maker.
A German industrial giant is waging a campaign of "internal warfare" against one of its own firms - Sweden's flagship submarine manufacturer Kockums - putting key defence deals at risk, sources have told The Local. German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp bought Kockums in 2005 to form part of what is known as ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), a firm which also owns German submarine maker HDW, a direct competitor of Kockums. A source told The Local that the purchase was aimed at getting rid of Germany’s Swedish submarine rival and that TKMS was jeopardizing Swedish export deals for submarines with the Australian and Singaporean governments. "The purchase of Kockums wasn't aimed at consolidating the naval industry and creating synergies, but at getting rid of a competitor," a source in Germany with direct knowledge of the situation told The Local. Kockums and its predecessors have been building ships for the Swedish navy for centuries at the Karlskrona shipyard in southern Sweden that now serves as the base of the company's Swedish operations. But according to a German naval manufacturing consultant with ties to TKMS, ThyssenKrupp is actively trying to sabotage Kockums export operations to the advantage of Germany’s HDW, a strategy he dubbed "TKMS über alles" and slammed as "suicide". The Germans' efforts to sink Sweden's submarine industry have been ongoing since at least 2011, according to the source, when TKMS CEO Hans Christoph Atzpodien denied Kockums the opportunity to bid on a project in Singapore for the construction of new submarines, despite the Swedish firm's long-standing relationship in the country. Earlier this year, the German firm decreed that the Swedish shipbuilder officially change its corporate name to ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, scrapping the Kockums brand name that has been a part of Swedish industry since the early 1800s. In August, during a meeting in Bonn, Germany with officials from Singapore defence agency DSTA held, Atzpodien claimed that Kockums "would no longer be capable of designing and building submarines", according to the source. "A raging war is taking place between Kockums and TKMS," he said, explaining that the Singapore deal has brought the situation into sharp relief. Among other things, Atzpodien disparaged Kockums plans for a new A26 class of submarine, claiming the Swedish firm didn't have enough engineers to complete the project, and that it was sure to be plagued with cost overruns and delays. "Atzpodien has systematically ejected Kockums from the discussions and has barred Kockums from Singapore," the source explained. TKMS has also complicated Kockums' chances for new contracts in Australia, another country where the Swedish shipbuilder has a strong presence, having designed and built six Collins-class submarines in the 1990s in what was one of the largest export deals ever at the time. But Kockums found itself left out of a 2012 initial call for proposals from Australia to replace the aging subs with an off the shelf solution, while its German-based competitor and sister company HDW was one of three European firms asked to participate. Earlier this year, however, Australia and Sweden did ink a deal allowing for Kockums to take part in the project, dubbed SEA 1000, which calls for the building of 12 new submarines. But in the meantime, TKMS purchased an Australian naval defence firm, Australian Marine Technologies, that "could do the same job as Kockums could have done on its own," the source said. "TKMS has here again torpedoed all the efforts of Kockums to run this future competition because it has already created its own footprint," the source told The Local. The Swedish government, as well as officials with the primary defence procurement agency, the Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), has been made aware of the situation and have become so unhappy they have asked Swedish defence contractor Saab to look into a possible purchase of Kockums, a source within the Swedish defence industry told The Local. "Discussions are taking place right now," according to the source, who agreed that TKMS is trying to strangle Sweden's ship building industry. "The only reason TKMS owns Kockums is to stop them from exporting," the Swedish source explained, adding that the Swedish firm "could not exist" without export contracts. Allan Widman, a Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) MP from Malmö and the party's defence policy spokesman said he is "worried" about Kockum's future in light of the rift with TKMS. "Submarine building capabilities are essential for our armed forces and our ability to defend ourselves," he told The Local, adding that he had heard a number of "industry rumours" about the discord between TKMS and Kockums. Adding to his concern is the fact that two years have passed since the Swedish parliament Riksdag approved funding for the development of the A26 submarine for the Swedish navy, but nothing has happened, reportedly due to concerns over ThyssenKrupp's ownership of Kockums. "I hope Kockums isn't prevented from doing business with other countries. It's not constructive," said Widman, adding he would welcome Swedish ownership for the Karlskrona-based shipbuilder. "I would have no objection to private Swedish ownership of Kockums," he said when asked about the Saab deal. However, if the Swedish and German firms can't strike a suitable deal to resolve the situation, Widman said the dispute may require a "political solution". "This is a matter that's vital to our national security," he said, stressing that he hopes both Germany and Sweden can maintain submarine building capacity. "In the end, however, it may require a political dialogue between Sweden and Germany to find a suitable solution." When reached by The Local for comment on the Saab-Kockums negotiations, a Saab spokesman refused to comment. "We don't speculate on rumours like that," the spokesman said. A spokesperson with FMV also chose not to comment citing an "ongoing procurement". A spokesman with Kockums in Sweden also refused to comment on the reported disunity within TKMS, while spokeswoman with TKMS in Germany said the company was "unable to comment on market rumours".
Submarines: Not So Impossible After All.
Two years after Colombian police rounded up the gang that built submarines and semisubmersible boats for transporting cocaine from Colombia to Central America and Mexico, the trial of one of the key personnel revealed much about how this project was carried out. Police suspected that the drug gangs had bribed members of the Colombian Navy to carry out this scheme and five of those arrested were retired or on active duty with the Colombian Navy (which operates two 1970s era German built Type 209 submarines). The leader (Mauner Mahecha) of the project was a guy in his early 30s with no boat building experience but excellent organizational and leadership skills. Mahecha had a huge budget and used it to find and hire men with the needed skills or experience with submarines. Mahecha also quickly recruited additional specialists as needed and obtained whatever materials the builders called for. His project built three submarines, and the project was shut down because one of the men recruited (an experienced engine mechanic working for the Colombian Navy) managed to tip off the Colombian Navy intelligence and then the U.S. about the project. None of the three subs entered service. There were also no leaks as the tipster agreed to take the job offer in 2010 and risk his life to report details of the submarine building operation. The tipster had been recruited (for $50,000) to serve on the crew of one of the subs. U.S., Colombian, and Ecuadoran police quickly acted on the information and shut down the sub building operation, as well as much of the drug gang that was financing it. The tipsters’ identity would have remained a secret but one of the twenty-one people prosecuted (in the United States, where gangs could not bribe or shoot their way out of jail) demanded a jury trial (and was convicted). Because of the trial the tipster (now living in witness protection in the U.S. with his family) had to reveal details of the case that would have remained secret if all the accused had accepted plea deals. Since cocaine cartels in South America began using submarines and semi-submersible craft to transport cocaine north in the 1990s, the U.S. and Colombia put a lot of effort into finding the specialists responsible for designing and building these craft. The gangs were usually pretty effective at keeping their secrets, but in this case it was one honest man who stopped the subs from entering service. Apparently no one else has tried to build the subs, as none have been detected nor has there been any chatter about them among the drug gangs being monitored by intel agencies. But the potential to try it again remains. The Mahecha submarines, when closely examined by experts, turned out to be more sophisticated than first thought. The outer hull was made out of strong, lightweight, Kevlar/carbon fiber that was sturdy enough to keep the sub intact but very difficult to detect with most sensors. The hull could not survive deep dives but this boat didn't have to go deep to get the job done. The diesel-electric power supply (up to two-hundred and forty-nine lead-acid batteries), diving and surfacing system, and navigational systems of captured subs were all in working order. Those who built these boats apparently borrowed much from recreational subs. The sub builders also had impressive knowledge of the latest materials used to build exotic boats. The three fiberglass/Kevlar submarines were obviously built to transport cocaine to North America and the existence of a building effort had been detected by intel agencies. For several years before the submarine boat yard was discovered the U.S. Navy, in cooperation with some Central and South American navies, have been looking for these subs, at sea and on land. While these submarines didn't run very deep (less than twenty meters/sixty-two feet), they are invisible to most sensors when completely submerged. These subs were designed to run on batteries for up to eighteen hours, before having to surface and recharge. When they are at sea, they usually operate their diesel engines. These are noisy. Sonar can pick up this noise over a long distance. By capturing these subs it was possible to run the engines and get a sound profile of this type of boat and equip American sonar systems with this data. These subs had a range (on internal fuel) of about twelve-thousand kilometers. Thus, the boat could get from Colombia to southern California and back. These drug gangs spent over two million on each of these subs. The most potent weapon the U.S. Navy has against these tiny (less than thirty-four meters/one-hundred foot long) subs is heat sensors, but even that may have had limited effectiveness. That’s because one of the subs captured had a snorkel type device (a tall structure extending from the conning tower, which contained pipes allowing diesel exhaust to escape and fresh air to be brought into the submerged boa..) It's this heat that airborne sensors can detect. All surface (or semi-submerged) ships at sea display this kind of "heat signature", and capturing working examples of these cocaine smuggling subs makes it possible to get a better idea of what the airborne heat sensors should be looking for. A snorkel, however, puts out less heat that a sub running on the surface would and is harder to detect. When running on batteries there is no heat to detect. The submarine building operation was close to an Ecuadoran river, near the Colombian border, and the completed boats could have been quickly moved from the hidden ship yard to the river and then out into the Pacific Ocean. One twenty-three point five meter (seventy-three foot) long, three meter (nine feet) in diameter boat was nearly complete and capable of submerging. This boat had a periscope, conning tower, and was air conditioned. It had commercial fish sonar mounted up front, so that it could navigate safely while underwater. There was a toilet on board but no galley (kitchen) or bunks. The five man crew would work shifts to take care of navigation and steering the boat. The boat could submerge to about sixteen meters (fifty feet). At that depth, the batteries and oxygen on board allowed the sub to travel up thirty-eight kilometers in one hour, or at a speed of nine kilometers an hour for five to six hours. This would be sufficient to escape any coastal patrol boats that spotted the sub while it moved along on the surface (its normal travel mode). The boat could also submerge to avoid very bad weather. The sub carried sufficient diesel fuel to make a trip from Ecuador to Mexico. There was a cargo space that could hold up to seven tons of cocaine. The camp for the sub builders appeared to house about fifty people. A lot of evidence was collected during the raid on the yard and the U.S. DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) used that to develop clues about who was involved. The Ecuadoran boat was not the first sub drug gangs attempted to build. Over a decade ago Russian naval architects and engineers were discovered among those designing and building a similar, but larger, boat. However, that effort did not last, as the Russian designs were too complex and expensive. It was found easier to build semi-submersible craft. More and more of these new type of semi-submersible subs are being found at sea and some have been captured intact. The semi-submersible boats continue to operate. The Colombian Navy has found and destroyed semi-submersible drug smuggling boats being built in, and operating out of, Ecuador and Colombia. Troops have found several hidden ship yards where these boats are built. In the last two decades, since this type of smuggling "submarine" was first encountered, the Colombian military has captured over seventy of them. Many more were apparently sunk by their crews, after delivering their cargo to Mexico. A typical Colombian "semi-submersible" is powered by a diesel engine, with a very low freeboard, and a small "conning tower", providing the crew (usually of four), and engine, with fresh air and permitting the crew to navigate the boat. A boat of this type was long thought to be the only practical kind of submarine for drug smuggling. The gangs are enterprising and eventually found people able to turn their semi-submersible boats into fully submersible ones.
China showcases its nuclear submarine force.
China has made a historic decision to reveal details about its nuclear submarine force. Mainstream media outlets across the country have provided wide coverage about the force's first fleet, its safety record, as well as training and technological advancements. But what does this transparency mean? What signals is China trying to send? Our reporter Han Bin interviews Chinese military experts to find out more.
China’s nuclear submarines used to be one of the world’s best-kept secrets. Chinese journalists were recently invited to an open house where they got a thorough introduction to this strategic force for the first time. Both ballistic missile submarines and attack submarines have been shown on national TV. “We’ve made great progress through technological improvements, as well in mass training over long-distances and combat capabilities.” Said Wang Zhonghui, captain of China Nuclear Submarine. China’s nuclear submarine force is a key pillar of the country’s military strength, with the latest equipment being designed domestically. Military expert Yin Zhuo reveals the significance of the force.“China says it has a no first use nuclear weapons policy. Nuclear submarines can effectively deter and fight back against those who want to launch nuclear attacks on China. It can reduce the danger of nuclear war. ” Military expert Major General Yin Zhuo said. It’s believed that the nuclear submarine force is a symbol of naval strength and a guardian of national security. China’s is the only such maritime strategic force in Asia.“By showing the world China’s military development, the army hopes to deter those who have ulterior motives. Those who want to challenge China’s core interests; they will not only face its naval aviation forces, but also its underwater submarine forces.” Yin said. Ever since it was founded, China’s elite unit of nuclear submarines has kept a low profile. So, many are surprised to see openness of the deterrent force today. Chinese military observers believe China’s nuclear submarine force has become strong, and confident enough to reveal its stealth.”
What kind of ride do you buy for the man that has everything? Not some ridiculous $4.5M open top Lamborghini. It’s something a bit smaller. And wetter. We’re talking about a personal submarine, of course. Triton Submarines, out of Vero Beach, Florida, was recently in attendance at the Monaco Yacht Show this past September. Rather than feature your run-of-the-mil luxury yacht, they were showing off a submersible form of personal transportation. Vice-president Marc Deppe said that Triton is on track to double sales of its personal submarine within the next 12 months. He says this growth is partly in thanks to the yacht market and improved technology.“Yacht sizes have been increasing to the point where they can carry a submersible,” said Deppe, “And technology is advancing to the point where it was practical and affordable to have one.”“Affordable,” in this sense, is somewhere in the market of $2.2 to $4.75 million. A market reserved for a few uber-wealthy yacht owners. The submarines are offered in 10 different variants. They are capable of diving to 5,500 feet, and you can opt for seating for two, three, four, six, or eight. With a little bit of training, you can take the whole family on a trip to the depths of the ocean.
First Navy submarine revealed as Gosport honours Holland 1 archaeological wreck.
In 1901, following a secretly-struck deal between the Royal Navy and American firm The Electric Boat Company, the Holland 1 – designed by John Philip Holland, whose inspired design gave unprecedented potential to submarines – launched as one of five newly-built subs.
On the centenary of an accident which sunk it to the bottom of the sea for decades, the Holland 1 submarine is in fine fettle in Gosport© Paul Appleyard Holland’s blueprint, linking the internal combustion engine to the electric motor and battery, meant submarines would become a crucial part of 20th century naval warfare. The Holland 1, meanwhile, met a less distinguished fate, sinking on its way to the scrapyard in October 1913 and resting at the bottom of the English Channel for 68 years. Navy mine sweepers spotted and salvaged the wreck in 1981, helped by the expertise of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum, where the sub has been preserved and, in a display allowing visitors to recreate the footsteps of the eight crew members and three mice, put on public show. “John Philip Holland is rightly known as the father of the submarine,” says Bob Mealings, the Submarine Museum curator who led the project to restore the vessel. “His designs incorporated the key technological features that would go on to form the basis of all submarine design right up until the nuclear age. “However, John was not the only inventor of the era dreaming of navigating the depths. “Other inventors were also at work designing – and in some cases building – submarines with varying degrees of success.” Holland’s design had its imperfections. Lieutenant Arnold Foster, the Royal Navy’s first submarine commander at the turn of the century, described the difficulties in driving it. “The ingenious designer in New York evidently did not realise that the average Naval Officer has only two eyes and two hands,” he rued. “The little conning tower was simply plastered with wheels, levers and gauges with which some superman was to fire torpedoes, dive and steer and do everything else at the same time.” A century after the Naval and Military Record reported the “accident of the Eddystone” which doomed the first submarine but “happily was not attended by loss of life”, the museum is commemorating the feat of engineering.
Submarine inventor JP Holland© Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Gosport
Submarines to be replaced with underwater tanks?
The prospects of a new submarine fleet, whose creation is clearly and distinctly described in the state armaments program and financially backed only up to 2020, are clear. But what will happen next? The situation with fifth-generation submarines also seems to be clear. However, according to the Russian Navy leadership, sixth-generation submarines may not appear. They will be replaced with unified multi-purpose submarine platforms. Today the basis of naval strategic nuclear forces of Russia is formed by nuclear submarines of third-generation Project 667 BDRM "Delfin" and 667 BDR "Kalmar" (under NATO classification Delta-IV and Delta-III). All six "Delfin" units are deployed in the Northern Fleet, and all four "Kalmar" units - in the Pacific Fleet. The vessels, of course, are not new, and all built under the Soviet Union, but they still have operational margins. All "Delfin" units and some "Kalmar" units are regularly upgraded and repaired, and their life span can then be extended by at least another 10 years. The Soviet Union school of naval construction was recognized at the time as the best in the world. Of the 24 submarines of the fourth generation that, according to the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, will join the battle fleet before 2020, eight are of Strategic Project 955 ("Borei," three units), and the upgraded 955A ("Borei -A," five units). In addition, the Navy will receive eight multi-purpose submarines of project 885 " Yasen." The head boat of project "Severodvinsk" will be deployed in 2013, and the first production one "Kazan" - in 2015. Eight more boats that will join the fleet by 2020 will be diesel ones. These will be submarines of well-established projects 677 "Lada" and 636 "Varshavyanka."
Race to the Bottom: Personal Submersibles
Seamagine Hydrospace Corp. has two- to five-person Aurora models with depth ratings from 500 to 3,300 feet, with prices ranging from $1 million to $3 million depending on the model.
Five of the bubble-hulled U-Boat Worx models can hold two to five people and sink to between 330 feet and 3,300 feet underwater. Prices range from $1.6 million to $2.5 million.
Among those lucky (wealthy) enough to own their own submersibles are billionaires Paul Allen and Roman Abramovich, so you'll be in refined company as you plumb the depths searching wrecks and coral reefs.
A 3-D rendering of the $1.7 million and up DeepFlight Super Falcon, showing some of the technology beneath its skin. Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson is using a sub designed by Hawkes Ocean Technologies capable of descending to 37,000 feet. Personal submersibles are becoming the latest must-have toy for the billionaire boat owner who already has it all. Just owning Jet Skis and an onboard helicopter is no longer enough to keep up with the Joneses -- it's become an aquatic race to the bottom. The cost of owning a submersible varies depending on how many crew members it can carry and how deep it can go. With prices starting at about $1 million for subs with the shallowest depth rating, costs can reach upwards of $4 million for the larger, deeper-diving vehicles. The $3.35 million Triton 3300/3 luxury submersible can take three crew members to a depth of 3,300 feet and can reach speeds of up to 3 knots.
A modern-day Fitzcarraldo of the drug world.
How a high school-educated drug smuggler built a fleet of submarines – in the middle of the jungle – to ferry cocaine to the United States. It was a system straight from the mind of Lex Luthor.
Colombian soldiers guard a homemade submersible in a rural area of Timbiquí, department of Cauca, Colombia, on Feb. 14, 2011. A submersible with a capacity to transport up to 8 tons of cocaine with a sailing range from Colombia to Mexico was found on the southwestern coast of the Colombian Pacific Ocean, the Colombian Army said. Mauner Mahecha is a family man. A single father, he dotes on his three young girls and provides for his ailing mother, too. But in testimony delivered over a two-week federal trial in Miami, a United States court heard little about his home life. That's because, when the 34-year-old wasn't tending to his children, he was running drugs and masterminding the construction of a fleet of submarines to silently ferry tons of cocaine beneath the seas. And he would have pulled it off if it hadn't been for an unassuming engine mechanic who risked his life to ensure the narco-subs never left shore. On Monday a Miami jury delivered a guilty verdict for one of Mahecha's associates. But far more interesting than the prosecution of one of his underlings was the detail the trial revealed about Mahecha's criminal mind — and his underwater engineering marvels. Mahecha spared no expense. He had a fat R&D budget and spent millions of dollars building each submarine. These aren't the crude semisubmersibles that drug runners have used for years to cruise just below the ocean's surface. Those vessels can't dive to avoid detection and are often just cigarette boats encased in wood and fiberglass. Mahecha's Kevlar-coated submarines, by contrast, can submerge to 60 feet, go 10 days without refueling, and glide underwater for up to 18 hours at a clip. Unbelievably, they were made by hand in the mangrove swamps of Colombia and Ecuador, in desolate outposts with no access to electricity. When analysts with the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence got their first close look at one of Mahecha's captured submarines, a 74-foot-long beast with twin propellers, they devoted 70 fawning pages to describing its capabilities. "The streamlined hull, diesel-electric propulsion system, and fuel ballast system design all show a significant level of technical expertise and knowledge of submersible operations," they crowed in a confidential Naval Intelligence white paper marked "For Official Use Only." Mahecha is no MacGyver, and he didn't design the subs himself. For help with construction and operations, he recruited talent from the Colombian Navy, using promises of fast cash to lure five current and former seamen to work on the project in his remote jungle hideouts. He filled out his building crew by corrupting local welders, electricians, and fiberglass installers, according to papers filed in the case. Finally, he brought in local muscle to secure the sites, arming his men with automatic rifles and grenades. Together, the ragtag team constructed at least three submarines. Perhaps the most important aspect of the subs' design was how they were powered: They were loaded with batteries — 249 Chinese-made, lead-acid batteries were found on one sub alone — and ran quiet. So quiet that the U.S. Navy worried that they were "potentially difficult to detect acoustically or by radar." Mahecha was building an underwater cocaine pipeline, an undetectable narco-submarine delivery system straight from the mind of Lex Luthor. Indeed, U.S. and Colombian authorities may have never learned of his sophisticated operation if it weren't for Genert Quintero. It was 2009, and Quintero was training at the Colombian Navy's marine infantry base in Coveñas. A skilled outboard-engine mechanic, Quintero was walking to lunch on base when an SUV pulled up beside him. Two senior officers he knew jumped out to make small talk. A few weeks later, the same two officers were back. This time, sitting inside the SUV, retired Lt. Col. Óscar Augusto Gutiérrez Garcia made his pitch. "He told me they had a very important job," Quintero recalled from a witness stand in Miami's federal courthouse. "He told me it involved work on a submarine in Ecuador. He told me it was the opportunity of a lifetime for me." In some ways it was. After 23 years with the navy and nearing retirement, Quintero was earning a modest workingman's salary. Just one round-trip submarine mission for Mahecha's operation would pay him at least $50,000, Quintero recalled. After Mahecha's officers made their pitch, Quintero dutifully reported the meetings to a superior he trusted in the Armada Nacional, the Colombian Navy. He in turn confided in a friend, a U.S. man stationed in Colombia for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Together with a Colombian naval intelligence unit and elite investigators with the Cuerpo Técnico de Investigación, the Colombian and U.S. law enforcement agents stitched together a plan for their newly minted undercover operative. Colombian Navy soldiers arrange packages of cocaine on Aug. 20, 2009, after 3.4 tons of the drug were seized in Golfo de Uraba, northwest of Colombia's Antioquia department. Quintero accepted the job offer, as coached. He retired from the navy and began training as a crew member on one of Mahecha's coke-toting submarines. He was now on the inside of an ingenious criminal enterprise. Like any good HR department, the drug traffickers provided an introductory packet to new employees. "The area where the project is being developed is tropical and there are lots of bugs," it advised. It asked Quintero to get "vaccinated against yellow fever," warned him about the possibility of experiencing claustrophobia during long weeks spent in the cramped submarine and, ominously, requested his blood type. From the beginning, Quintero testified, he knew the danger his work posed. "I was fully aware I could never make mistakes," he said. "They would have made me and my family disappear." The DEA agents who operated in Bogotá and Cartagena were not about to allow that to happen. Working with their Colombian counterparts, they opened a massive investigation in spring 2010 and began exploiting the names, cellphone numbers, and secret locations that Quintero was regularly turning over to investigators. The Colombian authorities got court authorization and recorded thousands of hours of phone calls. They secretly videotaped crew members at cafes, airports, even amusement parks. They monitored suspects' email accounts. And then in the summer of 2010, they started to move in. Police raided Mahecha's multiple cocaine-processing labs and discovered more than 4 tons of cocaine — easily worth tens of millions of dollars. They seized all three of his submarines in dramatic jungle raids, including an armed assault on one sub just hours before its maiden voyage. And they piled on the arrests, even netting the drug kingpin himself. He had gone on the run and finally surrendered to authorities in Panama in 2011. The Justice Department extradited Mahecha to the United States in February 2012, and he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and distribute cocaine three months later. He's now serving an 18-year sentence in a Florida prison. Mahecha's entire crew took a fall, too. Of the 22 submarine pilots, navigators, builders, accountants, and security guards indicted by the Justice Department, 20 have pleaded guilty. One is still at large, and the final defendant, Carlos Almanza, was convicted Monday in the Miami courtroom. Almanza is one of the former Colombian naval officers. When he refused a plea deal and demanded a jury trial, prosecutors were forced to show their cards. They brought in the undercover informant, Quintero, to testify and were forced to admit that he is now living stateside. "Why did you come to the United States?" asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Lunkenheimer. "For the safety of my family," Quintero replied. "We felt threatened." For much of the past two weeks, Courtroom 11-2 has been the site of a grim reunion. One after another, former members of the Colombian Navy have been testifying against their old sub mate, Almanza, and explaining how they had hoped to cash in by piloting the tricked-out drug subs up the Pacific. Mahecha was supposed to join his navy recruits on the witness stand, but prosecutors pulled his name at the last minute. For now, the drug kingpin will keep his side of the story to himself — how it was that one of South America's most ambitious drug smugglers got played by an engine repairman.
The latest toy for the rich: personal submersibles
The latest submarine by U-Boat Worx can carry three people down to about 900 metres. They travel at up to 5.6 km/h and stay submerged for 6 hrs. The strange contraption being assembled in a modest industrial shed in Breda, a small city in the Netherlands, bears little resemblance to Nautilus, the fictional submarine of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. It consists of a giant acrylic bubble bolted to a black, tubular steel frame and bracketed by yellow pontoons. But this craft, built by a Dutch company called U-Boat Worx, will carry three people as deep as 914.4 metres beneath the waves, allowing any billionaire to get his Captain Nemo on. Mega-yacht owners are accustomed to their toys: windsurfing boards, jet skis and helicopters are common. Submarines are just the latest addition to this aquatic arsenal, Bloomberg Pursuits magazine will report in its Autumn 2013 issue. "Yachting is not just about sitting in a marina and sipping martinis anymore," said Marc Deppe, vice-president of sales and marketing at Vero Beach, Florida-based Triton Submarines, one of six companies globally producing so- called personal submersibles. "Owners want the yacht to be an experiential platform where they go to unique places and see unique things and provide their families and guests with an adventure." Among those known to harbour subs aboard their boats are Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, who owns the 126-metre Octopus, and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, whose 163-metre Eclipse held the title of world's largest super-yacht before being bested by the 179-metre Azzam, launched earlier this year by German luxury- boat builder Lurssen Werft GmbH, which declined to identify the owner. Unlike scuba diving, subs don't require passengers to complete certification courses, squeeze into neoprene, worry about the bends or even actually get wet. Once ensconced, occupants are sped along by electric propellers at 3.7 to 5.6 km per hour and can remain submerged for six to 16 hours, travelling farther, faster and for longer periods of time than even the most accomplished conventional diver. Most submersibles aimed at the yachting set are appropriately plush: Passengers can kibitz while sunk into leather seats, play tunes through an iPod docking station and even sip champagne pulled from an onboard chiller. Hydrophones allow passengers to listen in on dolphins, whales and other sea creatures. And many subs are outfitted with robotic arms or video- equipped remotely operated vehicles that can fly out to examine objects on the seabed. "People see it as an expedition tool in terms of finding new things," said Bert Houtman, the former Dutch software entrepreneur who founded U-Boat Worx in 2005, largely to fulfil a boyhood dream of building his very own sub. Although the most brilliant tropical fish and corals are found in relatively shallow waters, personal submersibles can explore parts of the ocean that would otherwise remain beyond reach. In 2012, researchers used one of Triton's 1,000-metre rated subs, lent by hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio, to find and film a living giant squid for the first time. That same year, Mr Allen lent his sub to an aborted attempt to salvage the bell from the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk during World War II. Richmond, California- based Hawkes Ocean Technologies even designed a sub capable of descending to 11,277 metres, which billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson is using in his attempt to reach the deepest points beneath all of the world's oceans. Because the industry is largely unregulated, safety is an obvious concern, Mr Houtman said. To reassure potential customers, the leading sub companies - including Hawkes, Triton and U-Boat, along with Nautilus Submarines, SEAmagine Hydrospace and Sub Aviator Systems - voluntarily submit their submersibles to rating by the American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyd's Register of Shipping, Germanischer Lloyd AG or Italy's RINA. Most companies also require that would-be pilots complete a three-week training course and that at least one member of the yacht's crew other than the pilot knows how to launch, recover and monitor a sub's progress from the surface. At a cost of about US$1 million for a two-person capsule with the shallowest depth rating and upwards of US$4 million for the largest, deepest-diving models, personal submersibles still constitute a relatively small market, with no more than 50 in operation worldwide, Mr Houtman said. However, in the short term, the biggest limit to growth in the market isn't cost, he said, but cranes. Rather than surfacing directly into the belly of its mega-yacht mother ship, minisubs spend their off-duty hours on deck, and most large yachts don't have the cranes capable of lifting and launching the vehicles, which can weigh from 2,700 to 8,200 kilogrammes.
Before his last term ended abruptly in a 1999 military coup, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif dreamed that Pakistan would become an “Asian Tiger,” comparable with the rising economies of Southeast Asia. Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari dashed those hopes: Islamabad is now US$58 billion in debt, and economic growth has slowed to a murmur. Nevertheless, Sharif has swept into power once again with an ambitious vision of Pakistan’s role in the world. “Undoubtedly, our foreign policy demands a brave revision” he told a national television audience in one of his first speeches as prime minister, without which Pakistan “could not become [one of the] Asian Tigers.” That “brave revision” points in part to a robust naval modernization program, including a major push to revamp Pakistan’s fledgling submarine fleet. As a Muslim-majority country with a fully serviceable Navy (surface vessels, submarines and a naval air arm), the Pakistan Navy (PN) hopes to become “the guardian navy of the Gulf regions.” Haris Khan, a senior analyst at PakDef Military Consortium, an independent Tampa-based think tank, tells The Diplomat in an interview. Pakistan’s desire for naval modernization is predicated on its sense of strategic position in the complex Indian Ocean region. “Pakistan needs and maintains a balanced navy that can and will play its role effectively and efficiently in the region.” Khan notes. The importance of that role is underscored by a stretch of maritime border at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman and the warm-water Gwadar Port, located just 250 miles from the Straits of Hormuz, a vital chokepoint through which 20 percent of global oil traffic passes daily. Pakistan’s naval strategy is centered on a number of goals, such as deterring India, keeping sea lanes open to Pakistan’s Karachi port, and ensuring a “stable environment in the North Arabian Sea.” To that end, Sharif has promised that priority will be given to “critical projects,” including building and procuring new submarines and frigates, and constructing new naval bases at Turbat and Gwadar, Khan says. A large corps, with over 25,000 active personnel, including 3,000 Pakistani Marines and 1,000 Special Service Group members, gives Pakistan unique flexibility in conducting missions. “Pakistan’s naval acquisition strategy can be seen largely as being proactive and innovative.” Khan says. It will need to be, not only to accomplish a host of ambitious regional goals, but to upgrade a submarine fleet in vital need of repair, the crux of the elite forces within the Pakistani Navy. “Two are French DCNS Agosta-70 which are being upgraded and three are AIP powered Agosta 90Bs. Two of the Agosta -90B were built and assembled locally at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW),” Khan says. The submarines are equipped with French and German torpedoes, French SM-39 missiles and American harpoon missiles. Although Defense Minister Tanveer Hussain promised that “all necessary resources” would be provided to enhance the Navy in an interview with the Associated Press of Pakistan this summer, being proactive and innovative has historically gotten the aspiring tiger into serious financial trouble. Sharif’s plan faces familiar pitfalls. Former President Pervez Musharraf’s ambitious Armed Forces Development Plan (AFDP) envisioned a US$15 billion retrofit of Pakistan’s military by 2015, expanding the submarine fleet from eight to twelve. Since 2008, GDP has stagnated with an average annual growth rate of 2.5 percent, and Sharif was even forced to borrow another US$5 billion in his first days in office in a bid to prevent widespread blackouts. Already a 2008 IMF deal forced the government to abandon a multi-billion dollar deal with Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) for three U-214 submarines. A tentative US$6 billion deal with China to provide six diesel-electric submarines was also abandoned when Pakistan could not provide collateral. Although the plans are secret, with the Air Force’s AFDP shelved five years ago, “it would be safe to assume that Navy’s AFDP "had a “similar fate,” Khan says. Pakistan’s domestic politics may present further complications for naval modernization. As noted above, lingering debt forced the government to agree to a fresh IMF bailout package, worth US$5.3 billion, in July. A recent suicide attack on a Christian church in Peshawar, which killed 73 people, underscored the difficulties Pakistan faces in quelling internal violence, even though Sharif has indicated a willingness to reach a settlement with the Pakistani Taliban. Although Pakistan faces other serious problems, including the worst energy crisis in its history, a school system in shambles and ongoing battles to control terrorism, losing control of the naval modernization drive could have precipitous consequences. The Navy hopes that the creation of a nearly sixteen-ton fleet tanker will promote “greater self-reliance and the increased indigenization of defense equipment production,” Khan notes. But increased focus on that, and the establishment of the Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC) under the care of the Strategic Planning Division (SPD)— the custodian of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons—may leave conventional submarine programs starved for both attention and funding. This would be consistent with Pakistan’s long-standing goal of acquiring a sea-based nuclear deterrent to pursue an ambitious maritime strategy. According to Khan, since 2001 the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) has been working on KPC-3, a project “to design and manufacture a miniaturized nuclear power plant for a submarine.” In the long term, that may help Pakistan do less with more. PAEC and the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) have been working on a miniaturized plutonium warhead, a naval version of the Babur land attack cruise missile, which will further enhance Pakistan’s deterrent capability. But doing more with less will also require Pakistan to be more efficient with the money it has on hand. “Strategic management has been another focus for the PN.” Khan says, referring to Pakistan’s Navy. To enhance the quality of manpower and improve efficiency, the navy has commissioned a review of its entire organization, and will restructure it where it deems necessary. Sharif certainly has the vision to turn Pakistan’s navy around. Whether he has the willpower is another question.
Drug smuggler built a fleet of submarines—in the middle of the jungle—to ferry cocaine to the United States.
This drug submarine, built by the Mahecha ring, was seized in the jungles of Ecuador in July 2010. Mauner Mahecha is a family man. A single father, he dotes on his three young girls and provides for his ailing mother, too. But in testimony delivered over a two-week federal trial in Miami, the court heard little about his home life. That’s because, when the 34-year-old wasn’t tending to his children, he was running drugs and masterminding the construction of a fleet of submarines to silently ferry tons of cocaine beneath the seas. And he would have pulled it off if it hadn’t been for an unassuming engine mechanic who risked his life to ensure the narco-subs never left shore. On Monday a Miami jury delivered a guilty verdict for one of Mahecha’s associates. But far more interesting than the prosecution of one of his underlings was the detail the trial revealed about Mahecha’s criminal mind—and his underwater engineering marvels. Mahecha spared no expense. He had a fat R&D budget and spent millions of dollars building each submarine. These aren’t the crude semisubmersibles that drug runners have used for years to cruise just below the ocean’s surface. Those vessels can’t dive to avoid detection and are often just cigarette boats encased in wood and fiberglass. Mahecha’s Kevlar-coated submarines, by contrast, can submerge to 60 feet, go 10 days without refueling, and glide underwater for up to 18 hours at a clip. Unbelievably, they were made by hand in the mangrove swamps of Colombia and Ecuador, in desolate outposts with no access to electricity. When analysts with the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence got their first close look at one of Mahecha’s captured submarines, a 74-foot-long beast with twin propellers, they devoted 70 fawning pages to describing its capabilities. “The streamlined hull, diesel-electric propulsion system, and fuel ballast system design all show a significant level of technical expertise and knowledge of submersible operations,” they crowed in a confidential Naval Intelligence white paper marked “For Official Use Only.” When the 34-year-old wasn’t tending to his children, he was running drugs and masterminding the construction of a fleet of submarines to silently ferry tons of cocaine beneath the seas. Mahecha is no MacGyver, and he didn’t design the subs himself. For help with construction and operations, he recruited talent from the Colombian navy, using promises of fast cash to lure five current and former seamen to work on the project in his remote jungle hideouts. He filled out his building crew by corrupting local welders, electricians, and fiberglass installers, according to papers filed in the case. Finally, he brought in local muscle to secure the sites, arming his men with automatic rifles and grenades. Together, the ragtag team constructed at least three submarines. Perhaps the most important aspect of the subs’ design was how they were powered: They were loaded with batteries—249 Chinese-made, lead-acid batteries were found on one sub alone—and ran quiet. So quiet that the U.S. Navy worried that they were “potentially difficult to detect acoustically or by radar.” Mahecha was building an underwater cocaine pipeline, an undetectable narco-submarine delivery system straight from the mind of Lex Luthor. Indeed, U.S. and Columbian authorities may have never learned of his sophisticated operation if it weren’t for Genert Quintero. It was 2009, and Quintero was training at the Colombian navy’s marine infantry base in Coveñas. A skilled outboard-engine mechanic, Quintero was walking to lunch on base when an SUV pulled up beside him. Two senior officers he knew jumped out to make small talk. A few weeks later, the same two officers were back. This time, sitting inside the SUV, retired Lt. Col. Oscar Augusto Gutierrez Garcia made his pitch. “He told me they had a very important job,” Quintero recalled from a witness stand in Miami’s federal courthouse. “He told me it involved work on a submarine in Ecuador. He told me it was the opportunity of a lifetime for me.” In some ways it was. After 23 years with the navy and nearing retirement, Quintero was earning a modest workingman’s salary. Just one round-trip submarine mission for Mahecha’s operation would pay him at least $50,000, Quintero recalled. After Mahecha’s officers made their pitch, Quintero dutifully reported the meetings to a superior he trusted in the Armada Nacional, the Colombian navy. He in turn confided in a friend, an American stationed in Colombia for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Together with a Colombian naval intelligence unit and elite investigators with the Cuerpo Técnico de Investigación, the Colombian and American law enforcement agents stitched together a plan for their newly minted undercover operative.
Challenge to keep Collins Class subs competitive .
KEEPING Australia's six Collins Class submarines silent and stealthy enough to compete with the increasingly sophisticated submarines being bought by regional nations will be a significant challenge for the Navy and defence industry, senior officials have warned. A team of top international and local engineers and naval architects has been recruited to begin planning the Navy's new fleet of 12 submarines, which senior officials told the Pacific 2013 conference in Sydney yesterday would be crucial to Australia's security. The head of the Defence Department's submarine program, David Gould, was heavily involved in fixing problems in Britain's Astute Class nuclear submarine program and said he was confident Australia could build the new boats in time to avoid a dangerous submarine capability gap when the Collins were retired. Mr Gould said a vital task would be to keep the technology on the Collins boats up to date to ensure they could match new submarines being bought by regional nations. Several submarine construction experts have been brought out from Britain and the whole development process is being monitored, step by step, by the US Navy. The 30-strong team is expected to grow rapidly. Mr Gould said the new submarines were not likely to enter service until 2030. There would need to be a strong focus on ensuring that the technology on the Collins submarines was upgraded to ensure they were not outclassed by other submarines coming into the region as they aged. He said it was too early to say whether Defence would decide to build a submarine evolved from the Collins Class or opt for a whole new design. The retiring head of Defence's new submarine project, Rowan Moffitt, said that while the Collins had had problems, some of its features developed in Australia had been extremely successful. The combat system developed jointly with the US was one of the most sensitive pieces of military technology in Australia, he said."We need to work out what went wrong with the Collins, and why, so that we do not repeat the mistakes," Rear Admiral Moffitt said."We won't start cutting steel until we've got a very mature design. "It's one of the most exciting things I've ever been involved in. We can do this in Australia." A major and longstanding problem with the Collins Submarines has been their diesel engines. Rear Admiral Moffitt said ASC, which maintained the boats, had begun dealing with that by cutting away a large slice of the upper hull of one vessel so that the engines could be winched out for major repairs. Australian scientists had invented acoustic tiles that made the Collins much more stealthy and they'd also worked out how to resolve vibrations in the periscopes. Rear Admiral Moffitt said the capability of European submarines that could be bought "off the shelf"' fell far short of what the Collins was now capable of. "We have to convince the government and the public that we can do this successfully from the beginning."
The trouble-plagued Collins-class submarines cost about $440 million a year to maintain. The Defence Department is confident it can extend the life of the troubled Collins Class submarine while it develops a new fleet but admits to challenges keeping the vessels a match for modernising militaries in the Asia region. It also revealed it has gathered a hand-picked team of international and local experts to start planning potential new designs for the Collins’ successor, which is expected around 2030 or later. Speaking at the Pacific 2013 maritime security conference in Sydney on Wednesday, Defence’s top submarine manager, David Gould, said steps were already being taken to make sure the Collins did not become obsolete even if – as expected – the life of the six submarines needs to be extended by about seven years. He said he was confident this additional lifespan would bridge the feared “capability gap” around the late 2020’s when Australia would otherwise be at risk of having no reliable submarine fleet. Maintaining the Collins so that the six submarines could safely go to sea for the extra few years was “not a particular concern”, he said, given many potential problems were already being headed off now. But he added: “What could become operationally important in the future is the relative survivability of the submarine in a changing operational environment into the future, to 2030, when you’ve got more new, modern submarines being deployed in this area of the world and so forth.” Many countries in the Asia region – not just the big players China and Japan, but also Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia – are beefing up their naval power, including with submarines. Mr Gould said there was work Australia could do on the Collins to ensure it wasn’t outmatched in the region if its life were extended. But he declined to say what that work was. Rear Admiral Rowan Moffitt, the outgoing head of the Future Submarine Program, said there would be “a gradually declining capability against potential adversaries” with the Collins but stressed it would be hard to predict how sophisticated other countries in the region would become by 2030.One example of a future challenge, he said, was the growing sophistication of sonar detection on other countries’ submarines, which meant the Collins – which has had noise problems – could find it increasingly hard to remain stealthy. “It’s something that we’re critically aware of … and make our assessments periodically to make sure we’re not caught unawares,” he said. “There are capability enhancements for the Collins Class that are already on the books and in train, such as sonar upgrades.” The federal government is yet to decide whether to choose a totally new design or a so-called Son of Collins – an evolution of the current design.
Everett company building submarines for ocean tourists.
Cyclops is designed to be the first submersible with a hull made from carbon fiber and glass. It's being created by an Everett company and the University of Washington. While Seattle billionaire Jeff Bezos is funding an effort to make human space travel possible, another local company wants to send people in the other direction. Everett-based OceanGate has teamed up with the University of Washington's Applied Physics lab to build a five-person submarine that would travel to almost 2 miles below the ocean's surface. When completed in 2016, it will be the first deep-sea manned submersible project for the UW. The submarine, named Cyclops, has a carbon-fiber hull that can take passengers to almost 10,000 feet below the surface. That's deeper than all but a handful of existing subs. There are about 600 military subs worldwide, but only about 100 certified civilian subs, and most of those are on private yachts or in storage. "Most people don't appreciate there are not very many private or commercial subs," Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate said in a statement. The carbon-fiber hull is shaped like a bullet that can plunge down to depth in less than 60 minutes. Once the vessel reaches depth, it rotates to its cruising orientation. The passenger seats pivot in order to stay upright. The front viewing area, for which the vehicle is named, is designed as a 5-foot-wide dome of 4-inch-thick glass. Passengers will sit inside the dome to have a 180-degree view. Rush has his own company that now charters two submarines for exploration, research, commercial use and deep-water filming. He says researchers pay two-thirds as much as commercial clients would be willing to pay for the experience. "To make a submersible economically viable you need to be able to serve multiple users so you have the volume to keep costs low," Rush said. "The key today for big projects is you've got to have multiple revenue streams." Adventure travelers, would you rather go up in space or under the sea for a casual look around? For the past 70 years, the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory has conducted ocean research and engineering. Now they are teaming up with a local submersible company to build an innovative five-person submarine that would travel to almost 2 miles below the ocean's surface. When completed in 2016, it will be the first deep-sea manned submarine project for the UW."What a terrific asset for the UW to have access to one of the few available manned submarines in the U.S.," said principal investigator Robert Miyamoto, who directs the lab's industry and defense programs. "If someday students routinely had the opportunity to go on a manned sub I think the research in deep-ocean science would explode."The submarine, named Cyclops, has a carbon-fiber hull that can take passengers to 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) – deeper than all but a handful of existing subs. "Most people don't appreciate there are not very many private or commercial subs," said Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Inc., an Everett, Wash., company that charters submarines. He says there are about 600 military subs worldwide, but only about 100 certified civilian subs, and most of those are on private yachts or in storage. For the past year and a half, members of Miyamoto's team have leased a campus lab with OceanGate. The group has gone through more than 20 prototype designs before settling on the recently unveiled plan. The carbon-fiber hull is shaped like a bullet that can plunge down to depth in less than 60 minutes. Once the vessel reaches depth, it rotates to its cruising orientation. The passenger seats pivot in order to stay upright. The Boeing Company worked with OceanGate and the UW on initial design analysis of the 7-inch-thick pressure vessel. The design uses a strategy where each strip of carbon fiber and resin is precisely placed to ensure that there will be no gaps or weak points. The battery will be a lithium-polymer design that will also make the sub lighter and able to dive longer and faster than traditional subs. The front viewing area, for which the vehicle is named, is designed as a 5-foot-wide dome of 4-inch-thick glass. Passengers will sit inside the dome to have a 180-degree view. The collaboration was worked out through the UW Center for Commercialization. For OceanGate, the UW offers ocean engineers who are used to working on challenging problems, and access to wider campus expertise. For the UW, it's a chance to test new sensor, manipulator arms and control systems, and give researchers and students a front-row seat to explore the deep sea. Miyamoto and Rush say they plan to integrate modern control systems into the vehicle, replacing the many dials and levers used on today's submersibles with joysticks and more automated control systems that allow it to operate with a single pilot."It's like going from Model T to the Tesla," Rush said.APL researchers hope to test and integrate their underwater sensors. Since high-bandwidth communication is not possible through water, the unmanned vehicles they typically use either must be tethered to the ship or record data that they download at the surface."With a manned submarine you can actually have the researcher watch as the sensor is taking data and make changes," Miyamoto said. "It speeds up the testing cycle and provides better information on how the tool is operating."The UW portion of the project is funded by a $5 million industry grant from OceanGate. The UW team now comprises about six people; Miyamoto anticipates that will grow to about 10 when the project is at its height. The submarine is scheduled to be commercially available from the company in 2016.Passenger safety and cost are the two most common criticisms of manned submersibles. But Rush argues that in the past 35 years there have been no serious injuries in non-military submarines. And the team aims to build a smaller, lighter vehicle with a launch system that doesn't require a specialized vessel to keep total operating costs lower than today's manned submersibles. Rush, an amateur diver who moved to Seattle in 1990, says he became involved with submarines as a way to explore the Pacific Northwest marine environment without having to deal with the cold water and cumbersome dry suits. When he discovered that subs-for-hire were in short supply, he bought an unfinished sub and finished it for his own use. In 2009, he founded a company that now charters two submarines for exploration, research, commercial use and deep-water filming. Researchers pay two-thirds as much as commercial clients. With Cyclops, OceanGate seeks to develop a versatile, economical submarine that can go more than six times as deep. The company will target the oil and gas industry, deep-sea mining, pharmaceutical exploration, academic research and even tourism."To make a submersible economically viable you need to be able to serve multiple users so you have the volume to keep costs low," Rush said. "The key today for big projects is you’ve got to have multiple revenue streams."Miyamoto and Rush met through BlueView Technologies, a Bellevue, Wash.-based spinout from the Applied Physics Laboratory that develops underwater sonar. Rush now holds an affiliate position at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. Despite the recent emphasis on autonomous vehicles, including many projects at the UW, the pair believes there is a role for human presence in deep-sea exploration."I grew up in a Jacques Cousteau world, with a lot of emphasis on oceanography, and it just feels like it’s waned since then," Miyamoto said. "Pragmatically, it’s nice to advance the state of the science, but I would do it just for the exploratory aspect."
Nuclear scare at Navy submarine base after 'unbelievable' failures.
Double defects left vessels without vital sources of coolant for their reactors, despite earlier warnings and incidents. A major nuclear incident was narrowly averted at the heart of Britain's Royal Navy submarine fleet, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. The failure of both the primary and secondary power sources of coolant for nuclear reactors at the Devonport dockyard in Plymouth on 29 July last year followed warnings in previous years of just such a situation. Experts yesterday compared the crisis at the naval base, operated by the Ministry of Defence and government engineering contractors Babcock Marine, with the Fukushima Daiichi power-station meltdown in Japan in 2011.It came just four months after the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, announced that the base would "remain vital in the future". The failure of the electric-power source for coolant to nuclear reactors and then the diesel back-up generators was revealed in a heavily redacted report from the Ministry of Defence's Site Event Report Committee (Serc).Once a submarine arrives at the Devon base's specially designed Tidal X-Berths, it must be connected to coolant supplies to prevent its nuclear reactor overheating. But last July a series of what were described as "unidentified defects" triggered the failures which meant that for more than 90 minutes, submarines were left without their main sources of coolant. The IoS has learnt that there had been two previous electrical failures at Devonport, both formally investigated. They were the loss of primary and alternative shore supply to the nuclear hunter/killer attack sub HMS Talent in 2009 and the loss of "AC shore supply" to the now decommissioned nuclear sub HMS Trafalgar in 2011, the Serc report said. John Large, an independent nuclear adviser who led the team that conducted radiation analysis on the Russian Kursk submarine which sank in the Barents Sea in 2000, said: "It is unbelievable that this happened. It could have been very serious. Things like this shouldn't happen. It is a fundamental that these fail-safe requirements work. It had all the seriousness of a major meltdown – a major radioactive release."Mr Large warned that if a submarine had recently entered the base when the failure occurred the situation could have been "dire" because of high heat levels in its reactor. Babcock launched an internal investigation after the incident; this blamed the complete loss of power on a defect in the central nuclear switchboard. It said the defect had resulted in an "event with potential nuclear implications". Among a number of "areas of concern" uncovered by the Babcock investigation was what was described as an "inability to learn from previous incidents and to implement the recommendations from previous event reports". A subsequent review from the Base Nuclear Safety Organisation revealed the "unsuccessful connection of diesel generators" and questioned the "effectiveness of the maintenance methodology and its management", while advising Babcock to "address the shortfalls in their current maintenance regime". Operated under extremely tight security and secrecy, the Devonport nuclear repair and refuelling facility was built to maintain the new Vanguard ballistic missile submarines and is also home to the Trafalgar- and Astute-class attack submarines – both powered by nuclear reactors. Babcock, which is Britain's leading naval-support business and works with the MoD on a number of projects, admits that working with nuclear fuels will always carry a "small risk of a radiation emergency". Its own "stress test" on Devonport safety, launched after the Fukushima disaster, said that in the event of the failure of both power supplies, heat levels in reactors could be controlled by emergency portable water pumps, and added that such a failure had occurred a "number of times" previously. Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, said: "It's deeply worrying that a technical fault resulted in an event with potential nuclear implications. As long as we continue our obsession with nuclear – both in our defence system and in energy generation – there are going to be safety issues like this."Ten days ago, the Office for Nuclear Regulation watchdog published details of an improvement notice it had served on Devonport on 16 July for three alleged breaches of health and safety legislation, and of Section 24 of the Nuclear Installations Act – regarding "operating instructions". Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: "Accidents such as the one highlighted in this report again show that a city-centre location is no place for nuclear submarines "Babcock was unavailable for comment last night. But the conclusion of the MoD report said that while recognising organisations and individuals were "increasingly expected to deliver to tighter deadlines with limited resources", failures would be reported and learned from, to deliver a "safe product".
Billionaires Emulating Jules Verne Take Subs to Sea Depth.
The strange contraption slowly being assembled in a modest industrial shed in Breda, a small city in the Netherlands, bears little resemblance to Nautilus, the fictional submarine of Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” It consists of a giant acrylic bubble bolted to a black, tubular steel frame and bracketed by yellow pontoons. But this craft, built by a Dutch company called U-Boat Worx, will carry three people as deep as 3,000 feet beneath the waves, allowing any billionaire to get his Captain Nemo on. Megayacht owners are accustomed to their toys: Windsurfing boards, Jet Skis and helicopters are common. Submarines are just the latest addition to this aquatic arsenal, Bloomberg Pursuits magazine will report in its Autumn 2013 issue. The Triton 1000/2's transparent hull affords near-360-degree views. There’s a new toy seeking a home among sailings super rich. The Monaco Yacht Show is featuring the launch of personal submarines. Mechanical gauges provide pilots with critical information should digital readouts fail. “Yachting is not just about sitting in a marina and sipping martinis anymore,” says Marc Deppe, vice president for sales and marketing at Vero Beach, Florida–based Triton Submarines, one of a half-dozen companies globally producing so-called personal submersibles. “Owners want the yacht to be an experiential platform where they go to unique places and see unique things and provide their families and guests with an adventure.” Among those known to harbor subs aboard their boats are Microsoft Corp. billionaire Paul Allen, who owns the 414-foot (126-meter) Octopus, and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, whose 537-foot Eclipse held the title of world’s largest superyacht before being bested by the 590-foot Azzam, launched earlier this year by German luxury-boat builder Lurssen Werft GmbH, which declined to identify its owner.
Unlike scuba diving, subs don’t require passengers to complete certification courses, squeeze into neoprene, worry about the bends or even actually get wet. Once ensconced, occupants are sped along by electric propellers at 2 to 3 nautical miles (3.7 to 5.6 kilometers) per hour and can remain submerged for six to 16 hours, travelling farther, faster and for longer periods of time than even the most-accomplished conventional diver. Although film director James Cameron famously reached the deepest point on the planet, the Mariana Trench, in an uncomfortably cramped, custom-built, single-occupancy vehicle, most submersibles aimed at the yachting set are appropriately plush: Passengers can kibitz while sunk into leather seats, play tunes through an iPod docking station and even sip Champagne pulled from an onboard chiller. Hydrophones allow passengers to listen in on dolphins, whales and other sea creatures. And many subs are outfitted with robotic arms or video-equipped remotely operated vehicles that can fly out to examine objects on the seabed.
Surveying Giant Squid
“People see it as an expedition tool in terms of finding new things,” says Bert Houtman, the former Dutch software entrepreneur who founded U-Boat Worx in 2005 largely to fulfill a boyhood dream of building his very own sub. Although the most-brilliant tropical fish and corals are found in relatively shallow waters, personal submersibles can explore parts of the ocean that would otherwise remain beyond reach. In 2012, researchers used one of Triton’s 1,000-meter-rated subs, lent by hedge-fund billionaire Ray Dalio, to find and film a living giant squid for the first time. That same year, Allen lent his sub to an aborted attempt to salvage the bell from the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Hood, which was sunk during World War II. Richmond, California–based Hawkes Ocean Technologies even designed a sub capable of descending to 37,000 feet, which billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson is using in his attempt to reach the deepest points beneath all of the world’s oceans. Because the industry is largely unregulated, safety is an obvious concern, Houtman says. To reassure potential customers, the leading sub companies -- including Hawkes, Triton and U-Boat, along with Nautilus Submarines, SEAmagine Hydrospace and Sub Aviator Systems -- voluntarily submit their submersibles to rating by the American Bureau of Shipping, Lloyd’s Register of Shipping, Germanischer Lloyd AG or Italy’s RINA. Most companies also require that would-be pilots complete a three-week training course and that at least one member of the yacht’s crew other than the pilot knows how to launch, recover and monitor a sub’s progress from the surface. At a cost of about $1 million for a two-person capsule with the shallowest depth rating and upwards of $4 million for the largest, deepest-diving models, personal submersibles still constitute a relatively small market, with no more than 50 currently in operation worldwide, Houtman says. However, in the short term, the biggest limit to growth in the market isn’t cost, he says, but cranes. Rather than surfacing directly into the belly of its megayacht mother ship, a la James Bond, minisubs spend their off-duty hours on deck, and most large yachts don’t have the cranes capable of lifting and launching the vehicles, which can weigh from 6,000 to 18,000 pounds (2,700 to 8,200 kilograms). To surmount this obstacle, Triton is now designing specialized tenders -- companion vessels costing from $2 million to $2.5 million and made specifically to store, launch and recover subs. Meanwhile, multiple yacht makers are pursuing the dream of launching directly from the bowels of a boat. “I have had a number of clients ask me about incorporating a personal submersible,” says Luca Boldrini, head of sales and marketing at Italian yacht builder CRN. Cost and safety concerns tend to put them off, he says. Houtman, however, compares the submersible market with yacht-based helicopters. “Thirty years ago, people thought it was crazy to talk about putting helicopters on private yachts,” he says. “Now, it is not unusual for megayachts to have a helipad.” Abramovich’s Eclipse has two. This particular race to the bottom, it would seem, is just getting started.
Yellow submarine aids in search of missing Lake George swimmer.
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. – As a freshman in college, Mark Trezza picked up a book about submarines and immediately began a lifelong fascination."I thought it was the neatest thing in the world,” said Trezza, a Red Hook native who now lives in Kingston. "I was already a scuba diver, I learned in high school."Of course, like many childhood dreams, life got in the way and Trezza was mostly bound by land for the next 35 years. That was until two-and-a-half years ago when a friend called and said he had a 26-year-old Kittredge K350 sub he was looking to sell."It was a basket case. It was in rough condition," Trezza said Friday. Along with his cousin, David, Trezza bought the bright yellow vessel and began a more than two year process to make it sea ready."I spent many, many hours inside that submarine just doing the plumbing and the electrical," said David Trezza, who’s a mechanical engineer by trade."These little subs have been known to go to 800 feet with no problems whatsoever," Mark Trezza said. Named "Seahorse," the Trezzas planned to use it for leisure, until Ray Siler called looking for help at finding the remains of 23-year-old Edison Arias, a Queens man who disappeared swimming off the coast of Lake George 20 years ago."People deserve to be looked for and we now have technology we didn't have 20 years ago," said Siler, who founded the American Response for the Missing (ARM) and assisted in the initial search for Arias in 1993."Basically, I think we had given up,” said Warren County Sheriff Bud York, who worked for the State Police when Arias disappeared. “Nobody's really done anything on this case since 1999." This week, the Trezzas brought "Seahorse" to Lake George to aid in the search for Arias. Divers are also benefitting from a $60,000 piece of sonar equipment that creates digital images of the bottom of the lake. Officers from the Salem, Massachusetts Police Department lent the equipment for the search and are operating it for local divers."It's like watching television under water. It's quite amazing," Siler said."The theory is if he's still in there, he'd have to be in really deep water for him not to come up," York said. With depths approaching 200 feet, these portions of the lake were previously unreachable. Never expecting to be part of such a serious mission, the Trezzas are now hoping their search brings closure to the Arias family."He's been missing a long time and hopefully they can lay it to rest," David Trezza said."Helping out trying to do closure for this family on this case, it's icing on the cake," Mark Trezza said.
JAMSTEC Orders MHI Wide-area Seabed Research Vessel.
Conceptual drawing of wide-area seabed research vessel.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has received an order for construction of a wide-area seabed research vessel from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), and an agreement vehicle (AUV). Sea speed will be approximately 12 knots, with a crew capacity of 65. The vessel on order will also be outfitted with a marine research laboratory has been signed. The vessel on order will efficiently advance wide-area research into seafloor resources, its comprehensive research capabilities to include elucidation of mineral and ore deposit origins and formation conditions, and will also enable contributions to disaster prevention research. Construction is to get under way at MHI's Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture within the current fiscal year, with completion scheduled for March 2016. The wide-area seabed research vessel on order will be approximately 100 meters (m) in length and 19m in width, with gross tonnage near 5,500 tons. To efficiently conduct survey research of ocean floor resources, it will be capable of operating such state-of-the-art equipment as a seismic research system for investigating crustal structure, large piston corers and a seafloor-mounted excavator for collecting seabed samples, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and an autonomous underwater enabling swift analysis of collected samples without any time-lag deterioration. Selection of the shipyard was made through an open proposal submission process. MHI was initially included among the pool of candidates in recognition of its technological strengths, and ultimately chosen by JAMSTEC to construct its new research vessel. In recent years MHI has constructed a number of cutting-edge research vessels. Among them are the Shinsei Maru, delivered to JAMSTEC for studying the marine ecosystem off the coast of Tohoku in northeast Honshu, and the Hakurei, delivered to Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) to study marine resources. Going forward, through construction of the research vessel newly ordered by JAMSTEC MHI looks to contribute to research into Japan's marine resources. The company also intends to leverage the technological strengths to be cultivated through the vessel's construction and apply them to proactive initiatives to attract further orders for research vessels.
Monaco Peddles Luxury Submarines.
Graham Hawkes, inventor of the “underwater plane,” made his debut at the Monaco Yacht Show this week in a bid to entice billionaire boat owners to take the plunge. “This is literally like flying underwater,” Hawkes, a U.K.-born ocean engineer who has spent decades designing cutting-edge diving suits and submarines, said in an interview. “Once you’ve done that, you don’t want to do anything else.” There’s a new toy seeking a home among sailings super rich. The Monaco Yacht Show is featuring the launch of personal submarines. Hawkes is one of four submarine vendors who for the first time are all at the Monaco show -- one of the world’s top yacht gatherings -- to display multimillion-dollar high-tech wizardry they say makes perfect accessories for the wealthy. They are betting the superrich will want to go beyond cruising on luxury boats worth tens of millions of dollars. They see annual sales of private, small luxury submarines going double-digit over the coming decade from a few now. As the yacht size has stretched -- this year saw the launch of a record-holding 590-footer called the Azzam -- so has the list of distractions onboard. Soaking in a jacuzzi, shooting hoops on a floating court or playing a baby grand Steinway piano no longer cut it. “There is a change in attitude of super-yacht owners,” said Bert Houtman, founder and chairman of the Netherlands-based U-Boat Worx, surveying two of his submarine models on display in Monaco. “They’re fed up with drinking white wine and riding jet skis so they’re looking for another thrill.” The submersibles on offer cost from around $1.5 million to $4.2 million depending on their size and underwater range. The current global fleet is estimated at under a couple dozen including on private yachts such as Octopus. There’s one on Necker Island owned by the founder of Virgin Group Ltd., and another off Costa Rica, where a 300-meter dive costs $1,800 per person. U-Boat’s five models equipped with bubble-shaped acrylic windows can hold between two and five people and sink to between 100 meters and 1,000 meters underwater. Rival Triton, which is based at Vero Beach is pushing the depth limit to 1,650 meters for similar battery-powered technology. Storing an 18,000-pound submarine elegantly on a designer yacht can be a challenge. Makers urge owners to have bespoke boats conceived with subs in mind or, alternatively, invest in a “shadow” vessel to transport these types of toys and tenders, smaller speedboats that accompany super-sized yachts. Private submersibles are “a way of exploring for things that no human has ever seen,” Marc Deppe, Triton vice-president of sales and marketing, said in an interview. “For that you need depth.” Sharks, hydrothermal vents and sea mounts are among the wonders the more jaded wealthy could admire from an air conditioned capsule complete with panoramic views and a sound system, according to Deppe. There are also man-made attractions. U-Boat in July took Russian President 60 meters underwater to see The Oleg, a 19th-century shipwreck. One of Triton’s subs was used in an oceanographic research campaign to film the elusive giant squid. The company is using the feat to develop relationships between rich submarine owners and research institutes too poor to acquire the hardware. “A lot of guys who are billionaires have profound financial accomplishments and are now concerned about their legacy,” said Deppe. Super-yacht professionals are guarded about the identity of their clients so without revealing names, Deppe says this is already happening. The companies themselves train and grant submarine pilot licenses through in-house-designed courses. Safety features include a “dead man” signal that has to be sounded by the pilot every 10 minutes or the submarine automatically returns to the surface. Hawkes’s underwater flying machines differ from the others. While his resemble soft-edged airplanes with bubble-shaped cockpits, the others are more like UFOs. “They’re like a helicopter, we’re like a Lear jet,” he said at his stand, which faces million-dollar yachts on display for sale or charter. The backdrop is a poster of him and Branson cruising in an underwater plane snapped just before they crossed paths with a Great White shark. “Our goal is to fly and play with the big animals,” he said. “Now that’s magic.”
BRITAIN'S NEW SUB.
About half the size of a USS Virginia class submarine but still of leading edge technology. Inside the British Navy's new £1billion super sub: Deadly Hunter Killer submarine is capable of hearing a ship leaving port in New York while sitting underwater in the English channel. One of the world's most sophisticated and powerful nuclear submarines carries dozens of cruise missiles capable of hitting targets 1,200 miles away. Her sonar can detect vessels moving on the other side of the ocean. Powerful nuclear reactor allows her to cruise non-stop for 25 years. HMS Ambush is so hi-tech the giant submarine doesn't even need a periscope. She cost around £1billion to build, has sonar so sensitive it can hear other vessels 3,000 miles away and carries a giant payload of 38 deadly Tomahawk cruise missiles. HMS Ambush, the Royal Navy's newest nuclear attack submarine, is one of the most sophisticated and powerful vessels of her type ever built.
The giant Astute-class sub, which was launched today, is so hi-tech she doesn't even need a periscope. HMS Ambush, which was built by BAE Systems, is believed to be the world's most powerful nuclear attack submarine. Her huge weapons payload includes super-accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish torpedoes for fighting other vessels. The super hi-tech vessel has undergone rigorous testing ahead of today's launch. Despite her size the sub's 103 crew will be tightly packed, with some sleeping up to eight to a room in bunk beds. Her crew does not use a periscope, instead using a digital camera system to see above the surface when she is submerged. Built by BAE Systems, she has enough nuclear fuel to carry on cruising for up to 25 years non-stop - giving her huge tactical flexibility. Her nuclear reactor is so powerful her range is only really limited by the need for maintenance and resupply. Astute-class submarines are the largest, most advanced and most powerful in the history of the Navy, boasting world-class design, weaponry and versatility. HMS Ambush can travel over 500 miles in a day, allowing them to be deployed anywhere in the world within two weeks. The vessel is also one of the quietest sea-going vessels built, capable of sneaking along an enemy coastline to drop off special forces or tracking a boat for weeks. HMS Ambush was fitted out with her sophisticated technology at Devonshire dock hall in Barrow-in-Furness Cumbria. She contains some of the most hi-tech weapons and sonar systems ever created. Her powerful nuclear reactor allows her to travel around the world without stopping. She can cruise for up to 500 miles in a day. Foreign forces will find it almost impossible to sneak up undetected by her incredibly powerful sonar equipment that can hear halfway around the world. Her Tomahawk missiles are capable of hitting targets up to 1,200 miles away - making her a vital weapon for Britain's armed forces. Her listening ability is quite awesome. She has a sonar system with the processing power of 2,000 laptop computers. The weapons room of the £1billion sub. Many details of her weapons system remain top secret. The submarine's kitchen will be staffed by five chefs providing food 24-hours a day for her officers and crew.
Iran Mass Producing Light Submarines.
Iran is mass producing light submarines, a senior Navy commander announced on Tuesday, adding that the country is also building semi-heavy submarines at present. The commander further pointed to the Iranian Navy's advancements, saying that "semi-heavy submarines are now under construction in Southern Iran". In September 2012, the Iranian Navy officially launched a heavy submarine after the subsurface vessel was overhauled by the country's experts. Tareq 901 submarine was launched in Iran's Southern port city of Bandar Abbas at the order of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and Commander in Chief Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. In May 2012, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari lauded Iranian experts' success in repairing heavy submarines, saying their outstanding capabilities and mastery of the hi-tech used in naval vessels display the failure of enemy sanctions and pressures. He said the submarine, called Tareq, is now fully ready to be dispatched to the high seas. In 2011, the Iranian Navy's Tareq-class submarine, 'Younus', managed to set a new record in sailing the international waters and high seas for 68 days. Iran's Younus submarine, sailing alongside warships of the 14th fleet of the Iranian Navy, returned home in early June 2011 following an over two-month-long mission in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The deployment of the Iranian submarine in the Red Sea was the first such operation by the country's Navy in far-off waters. Also earlier this month, Sayyari underlined the country's advanced naval equipment, including drones, and announced that the Navy's new home-made submarine, Fateh, will be launched this year. "Based on the Navy's plans, the Fateh submarine will be launched this year (i.e. the Iranian year March 2013-March 2014)," Sayyari told reporters in Tehran. Sayyari had earlier this year informed of the country's plan for unveiling the new submarine. "Fateh submarine, Kaman-class missile-launcher warships and Jamaran 2 destroyer will come into operation in the current year," he told reporters.
China to Build 4,500m Manned Submersible.
According to Xinhua, Chinese scientists launched a program to build a new manned submersible expected to dive as deep as 4,500mand capable of carrying out scientific research. The program was revealed by Hu Zhen with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, who is in charge of the technology development of the submersible program under the Ministry of Science and Technology, in an interview on board the Xiangyanghong 09, carrier boat of the Jiaolong submersible. According to the news agency, Jiaolong has dived successfully to a depth of 7,062m. According to the report the Jiaolong will soon be handed over to the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association, and at that time study will focus on key technologies involved in the 4,500-m submersible.
Seattle submarine builder looks to Boeing for tech help.
Boeing may join forces with a small operator of deep-water submarines to develop and build an 18-foot submersible capable of diving to nearly 10,000 feet underwater. The Cyclops submersible, designed to carry up to five people. The Boeing link is that the submarine, to be called Cyclops, will be assembled around a hull of carbon fiber composites, possibly using technologies similar to those used by Boeing and its suppliers to fabricate the hull of the 787 Dreamliner. CEO of Seattle-based OceanGate Inc., said he’s in discussions with Boeing (NYSE: BA) leaders to see if the hull of the first of his new submersibles can be fabricated at Boeing’s research center near Boeing Field. The facility features a 120-foot-long autoclave that would be capable of curing the Cyclops hull. The vessel's carbon fiber hull, with walls 7 inches thick, would be able to withstand the enormous underwater pressure while being light enough that the submarine won’t need bulky flotation, Stockton said. The company plans to assemble the submersibles in Seattle. Stockton said he’s now negotiating for two sites, one on Lake Washington and one on Lake Union. He added that he hopes Boeing also can bring other specific expertise to the project, including how to integrate composites with other materials. “Phase one of the work with Boeing is ... how we’re going to bond titanium with carbon fiber as well as with the glass, and nuances around that structure,” Rush said. He added that another skill of Boeing’s is how to lay up the carbon fibers so there are no voids. Any such voids would be deadly underwater. Boeing spokesman confirmed that Boeing and OceanGate are talking, but he said it’s “premature” to talk about final plans.
Scott Cassell Builds Submarine Out Of Spare Parts.
Russia Finally Comes To The Rescue.
After decades of delays, Russia expects to put ten new rescue ships into service by the end of the year. This rescue fleet will include a specially designed sea going tug and small rescue craft for the Baltic and Black sea. The larger craft will be stationed in the north and on the Pacific coast. These two bases are home ports for all Russian nuclear subs. Chief among these rescue ships is the 5,000 ton Igor Belousov, which is equipped with a Western submarine rescue system. Completion of the Belousov was delayed several years because of money shortages and a failed effort to develop a Russian made submarine rescue system. The Belousov has a helicopter pad, a decompression chamber that fits 60 people and two ARS-600 mini-subs. Each of these seats two and are used to check out subs in trouble. There are also unmanned by Panther Plus (goes down to 1,000 meters/3,100 feet) and Tiger (150 meters/460 feet) unmanned submersibles. The actual rescue is handled by a Divex system from a British firm. This can handle rescues down to 450 meters (1,400 feet), has a crew of three and can bring up 12 people at a time. Russia chose the British rescue sub because Western firms had pioneered the development of this equipment and were the foremost manufacturers. The Western firms also established international standards for this gear. Back in 2008 NATO successfully completed tests of the NATO Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV). This $95 million SRV1 is a deep water rescue device that can be airlifted to anywhere in the world on short notice, fit on the deck of at least 140 identified ships, and mate with the escape hatches on most of the worlds’ submarines. The SRV1 has a crew of three and can carry up to 15 men at a time to the surface. It can do this at the rate of four hours per trip (to allow for time to deal with decompression, battery recharging and maintenance.) The SRV1 system is shipped in eleven waterproof cargo containers that can be flown by military or civilian cargo aircraft. Including flight time, set up time on the ship, and movement time to the site of the distressed submarine, the NATO SRV should be able to get there and have the SRV in the water within 72 hours. The SRV itself is to meters (31 feet) long and weighs 27 tons, and can go as deep as 1,000 meters (3,000 feet, which is the maximum depth for most submarines.) Britain, Norway and France cooperated to design and build SRV1. The U.S. is built a similar system, providing two rescue systems to deal with any of the several hundred subs in service, getting in trouble. The NATO SRV will be based in Clyde, Scotland and is managed by the UK Ministry of Defense. Back in 2005 an unmanned British minisub arrived by air, and after six hours of work, cut free a small Russian rescue sub, allowing it, and its crew of six, to come to the surface. The Russian sub had gotten snagged in abandoned fishing nets three days earlier off the Pacific coast in the Russian northeast. The US also flew out two minisubs, but the British got there first, and were aided by some American transport troops who had already arrived. The Russians thanked the British, and other nations who had rushed assistance to the scene (off the Pacific coast in the Russian Far East.) Russia said it would buy two of the minisubs that Britain used. These minisubs are used for all sorts of underwater work and cost about a million dollars each. The Russian navy was under tremendous pressure to ask for foreign assistance, after they did not do so in 2000 when the submarine Kursk went down. Meanwhile, the navy is investigating the current accident for things that could have been avoided. In 2003 Russia and NATO signed an agreement to instantly cooperate if anyone's submarines go down and quick rescue attempts are needed. This is a direct result of what happened when the Russian submarine Kursk sank in 2000. NATO nations immediately offered rescue ships, but the Russians dithered and the Kursk sailors who survived the initial disaster died inside the sub as their air ran out. The agreement will mean more regular transfer of information on who has what submarine rescue capabilities, and perhaps even rescue exercises between NATO navies and Russia. Over half the submarines in European navies belong to Russia, including most of the nuclear subs.
Submersibles for sale.
For sale in excellent condition, a four-man (1000ft depth rated) submersible with diver lockout facility. Also immediately available a range of multi passenger tourist submarines (ten to forty passenger). Small two / three man submersibles, and one-man ADS units. Pilot training and maintenance courses are arranged to support every submarine sale if required. Please contact us to discuss your exact requirements.
A state of the art three-man submersible with a very high-tech image, operational depth: 300ft (100m). Stainless steel hull, nickel sodium batteries. Domed acrylic viewports for all crew members. This submersible is ideal for a range of underwater activities and especially for yacht based recreation. New build with test dives just completed.
This privately manufactured submarine, together with three support vessels is now for sale. Completed in 1989, with over 12 years of design, research and development. Depth: 1000ft approximately (unmanned to 3,500 feet, as designed). Weight: 12000 lbs. Surface speed: 10kts with surface range 400 miles on diesel power and underwater range 25 miles on fully charged batteries. Viewports: fourteen 9-inch ports 1 1/2" thick, plus one 3" port (top hatch cover). Life support: two people for up to seven days. Trailer: custom-built, tandem. Dive missions have been completed off the east coast of the United States, south Florida, the Keys, the Gulf and Caribbean. (Currently in warehouse storage). Price US$195,000. Three surface support vessels included in the sale price (35ft Long Range Flybridge Live Aboard, 23ft Center Console Transport, and 11ft Avon Sub Tender Inflatable).
South Korea Submarines.
South Korea recently launched the first of a second batch of six Type 214 submarines. This one was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. The first three were built (from German components) by Hyundai Heavy Industries. Much to the chagrin of the South Koreans, who are trying to develop their own submarine building capability, the first three Type 214s had quality problems. Mostly it was defective components and poor construction techniques that left the three boats noisy and easier to detect. The first three Type 214 subs were out of action for most of 2010 because of these problems. This was very embarrassing, as these subs were built in South Korea and that was a big deal in South Korea. Building submarines is a very specialized and exacting type of manufacturing, and South Korea has only been doing it for less than a decade. The first subs built in South Korea were these three German Type 214s, and the first of those entered service five years ago. The boats were built using licensed technology from the German developer (HDW) and many of the components were manufactured in South Korea as well. But then metal bolts in the Type 214s began coming loose or breaking seven years ago. The problem was traced to the South Korean supplier of the bolts which were not, it turned out, manufactured to the German specification. Eventually, German specialists were called in, and by 2011 the problem had been fixed. South Korea went ahead with plans to build six additional Type 214 subs over the next 12 years. South Korea already had nine 1,100 ton Type 209 subs, designed and built in Germany. The Type 214 boats use fuel cells, enabling them to stay underwater for up to two weeks. The Type 214 is a 1,700 ton, 65 meter (202 foot) long boat, with a crew of 27. It has four torpedo tubes and a top submerged speed of 35 kilometers an hour. Maximum diving depth is over 400 meters (1,220 feet). AIP boats go for up to a billion dollars each. The second batch of South Korean 214s will have an improved AIP system, which is apparently more reliable and provides a small increase in time underwater. South Korea will probably become a supplier of AIP systems as well because they now have the industrial expertise for this sort of high tech. The latest Type 214 boat is important because if it proves to be flawless it will make South Korea a contender in the international submarine market.
Lithium ion batteries for special operations mini-submarines.
U.S. Navy power electronics experts needed lithium-ion batteries for prototype mini submarines designed to transport combat swimmers such as Navy SEALs covertly while minimizing swim time to maintain combat effectiveness. They found their solution from General Atomics in San Diego.Officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind., have awarded a $12.5 million contract to General Atomics for lithium ion batteries to be used on the Dry Combat Submersible program of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.The batteries and accessories will be used on Navy submersible vehicles as primary sources of power, Navy officials say. General Atomics has experience in nuclear and alternative energy, electromagnetic aircraft launch and recovery systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that rely on battery power. The SOCOM Dry Combat Submersible program involves two separate initiatives -- the Dry Combat Submersible-Light (DCS-L) program and the Dry Combat Submersible (DCS). Both initiatives are developing technology to deliver combat swimmers to their mission areas ready to fight, rather than exhausted by long swims. Submarine experts at the General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Conn., are developing the DCS-L, and those from the Lockheed Martin Corp. Mission Systems and Training segment in Palm Beach, Fla., are developing the DCS. The two sizes of mini-submarines are intended to operate from combat support surface ships or submarines. They are to be one-atmosphere special operations dry combat submersibles that will be free-swimming vehicles capable of delivering and extracting teams of combat swimmers. USSOCOM officials are interested in dry combat submersibles that can move at speeds of at least five knots, at depths to 200 feet, with provisions for two pilots. These dry submersibles should be sized to transport aboard C-5 or C-17 cargo jets, or in standard 40-foot surface ship containers. The submersibles are to have military radios, military sonars, and high power batteries. These submersibles would operate from surface support ships or submarines equipped with pressure-proof shelter systems either military or commercial, or future generations of the Dry Deck Shelter (DDS).The General Dynamics Dry Combat Submersible-Light will be about 24 feet long with moderate endurance and moderate passenger and cargo capability that will be operated from specially configured commercial surface ships. The larger Lockheed Martin version of the Dry Combat Submersible will be about 38 feet long with high endurance and high passenger and cargo capability that will be operated from specially configured commercial surface ships, and potentially from future submarine shelter systems.
Failure of India’s Submarine experiment.
On May 10, 2009, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta had stated that New Delhi “will soon float tenders to acquire six submarines.” Mehta also accused Beijing by saying, “Indian Navy would keep a close watch on the movements of Chinese submarines which are operating out of an underground base in the South China Sea” and “wish to enter the Indian Ocean”. However, under the pretension of Chinese threat, Washington, New Delhi and Israel are plotting to block the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean for their joint strategic goals. Apart from Israel, New Delhi also purchased modern weapons from Russia, US and other western countries, especially to develop its naval programme. However, Indian experiment failed when on August 14, this year, its navy submarine INS Sindhurakshak caught fire after a huge explosion, and sank along side its berth. At the time of incident, the submarine was fully weaponised with torpedoes and Russian made land attack missiles. INS Sindhurakshak was commissioned in to the Indian Navy on December 24, 2007. It underwent major modifications and upgrades in Russia at a cost of $80 million. Showing contradictory statements, Indian defense analysts and various submarine officers have delved on the possibilities which caused fire and loud explosions on board the submarine. Many of them opined that two of the on board missiles accidentally got fired—the detonation of missiles, one of which struck the wall, the second partially damaging another submarine berth along side, is the main cause of the incident. While some others pointed out that anti-Submarine Warfare officer, while running down the tests on the missiles, might have accidentally triggered the missiles or might have been lacking expertise in operating Fire Control System. It was also possible that night time loading of the missiles might have tired the sailors out and the missiles were wrongly housed. While addressing Parliament, the Indian defense minister, confirmed to the house that blasts on the submarine might have been caused by possible ignition of armament. This theory is also seconded by the Russian manufacturers of the submarine. They also point to human error as a crew member, while wrongly checking the connectivity of the missiles might have led to short circuiting, leading to explosion of the hydrogen fumes and triggering of the missiles. In fact, the night time loading of the missiles is carried out for secrecy when a submarine is scheduled to proceed on war patrol. According to Indian media, the night before the accident, the submarine was ready in all respects to proceed to sea in first light on August 14. Also, many of the defense analysts and media persons have even gone to relate the night time arming of the submarine to building of tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan. The fact that the two significant evolutions were compromised at one time in complete violation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), has also been referred to by the same analysts as expediting the preparations—the lower threshold of Indian navy’s forward posturing. The nuclear analysts are also perplexed that such compromises being carried out by officer cadre of Indian Navy, what would have happened, if it was not a conventional submarine but a nuclear submarine. The experts stopped short of narrating dire consequences, if such incident happened on Indian nuclear submarine berthed along side in one of India’s harbors. Russians are uncomfortable with India’s ability to safely in running nuclear submarine, and therefore, they have kept a team of around ten Russian nuclear submarines’ technicians on board on its ‘Akula’ Class submarine leased to India. It is not new incident, since 2005, at least 10 serious incidents have been reported. Among them five are related to the Sindhughosh-class of submarines, of which Sindhurakshak is the one. For example, in April 2006 INS Prahar Naval Patrol vessel was sunk. Similarly, in January 2008, INS Sindhu-gosh, with a large foreign-owned cargo ship meant a cold watery grave. And in January 2011, Indian naval ship INS Vindhyagiri caught fire after collision with a foreign merchant vessel at the Mumbai harbour. Nevertheless, whatever the dynamics which led to the sinking of Indian submarine Sindhurakshak, the failure of experiment highlights the professional incompetence, violations of SOPs, poor standards of safety conscientiousness. The incident has certainly brought down the Indian navy’s submarine capability. The ill-preparedness of Indian navy in handling such crises has also been highlighted. Due to its inability to deal with such accidents, India has approached US and Scandinavian experts who have carried out their surveys and now await heavy machinery and heavy cranes to lift the submarine out of water.
Dual Use Submersible Vehicle Wins Prestigious R&D 100 Award.
Submersible Cyclops: Hull Design "Revolutionary"
OceanGate Inc. announced the completion of the initial carbon fiber hull design and feasibility study for its next generation manned submersible – Cyclops. Under a contract issued to Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T), OceanGate, the Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington (APL-UW) and Boeing have validated the basic hull design for a submersible vehicle able to reach depths of 3,000 meters. With its large 180-degree borosilicate glass dome, the new vehicle will offer clients a chance to examine the environment, collect samples, and deploy technology in subsea settings in person and in real time. When commercially available in 2016, Cyclops will be the only privately owned deep-water (greater than 2,000 meters) manned submersible available for contracts. A follow on 6,000-meter version is slated for completion in Q4 2016. "Recent advances in material science, manufacturing and testing facilities that combine innovative engineering processes have allowed for a unique collaboration between OceanGate, Boeing and the APL team to complete the feasibility study and move the process to the manufacturing stage," states Stockton Rush, CEO. "The research, military and commercial markets need more vehicles for subsea exploration. OceanGate's Cyclops submersible will usher in a new class of vehicle to help fulfill this need." The Cyclops submersible will feature a seven-inch thick, individual-fiber-placed carbon fiber hull using proprietary Boeing manufacturing technology. The ability to accurately place thousands of individual strips of pre-impregnated fiber will overcome many of the hard to control variables surrounding traditional filament winding processes and permit the hull to withstand the very high compressive loads at 3,000 meters (300 bar). The use of carbon fiber will also help make Cyclops significantly lighter than other subsea manned submersibles, making deployment operations faster, easier and cost-efficient. While in the water, Cyclops' five crew members can comfortably observe the ocean depths through a massive glass dome, which offers unobstructed views for at-depth inspections, environmental assessments, discussion, decision making and observation. Operating at depths beyond 1,000 meters with remotely operated vehicles is extremely difficult as they require large heavy tethers and specialized support vessels. Cyclops will eliminate the tethering limitations and allow its five crew members to observe underwater environments for up to eight continuous hours. Using a patent-pending submerging Launch, Retrieval and Transport (LRT) platform, OceanGate can operate a manned vehicle with ships of opportunity at much lower costs than most other manned vehicles and, in many cases, even less expensively than ROVs. With the ability to be quickly and affordably deployed around the world, Cyclops will usher in a new generation of oceanic exploration and study.
Manned submersible circles globe to pursue mysteries of deep-sea life.
The water darkens and becomes pitch black as three men in a cramped submersible descend near the British Cayman Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Then the real stars of the show appear: Creatures thriving in an environment long thought difficult to sustain life. About 340,000 people watched the world’s first live broadcast of the deep-sea expedition on the “Nico Nico Live” online channel on June 22. The spectacle from a depth deeper than the 3,776-meter Mount Fuji and where sunlight cannot reach was made possible by the Shinkai 6500, a manned research submersible of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). The Shinkai 6500 is currently circling the globe for a string of scientific expeditions that have been joined by scientists from the United States, Britain and other countries. The voyage is driven not by national ambitions for natural resources, but by an intellectual curiosity to uncover mysteries in vast areas of the planet that have never been explored. The findings in these extreme environments, such as hydrothermal vents and the crushing pressure in ultra-deep seas, could provide clues on the origins of life itself on Earth. The Shinkai 6500 can travel as deep as 6,500 meters. In the dive near the Cayman Islands, the vessel sank at a rate of 40 meters per minute. The submersible can accommodate a crew of only three, comprising one scientist and two pilots. When the screen was switched to show the image from an inboard camera, viewers saw how Ken Takai, director of the JAMSTEC Extremobiosphere Research Program, shared a cabin--an orb of titanium alloy only 2 meters across--with his two colleagues. Sea water temperatures are a chilly 1 or 2 degrees more than 2,000 meters beneath the surface. Curled up in winter suits, the crew members ate lunchboxes before they hit the 5,000-meter-deep seabed at the end of the two-hour descent. Lights on the submersible revealed hot water spewing from “chimneys,” or column-shaped seabed formations several meters high. Takai and his colleagues operated two robot arms to catch the small shrimp and sea anemones that crowded the chimneys, and placed them into a sampler. The robot arms also installed a thermometer beside a hydrothermal vent. Camera imagery of the deep sea was transmitted through purpose-built fiber-optic cables to the seaborne support vessel Yokosuka, and then relayed via satellite for “Nico Nico Live” viewers. A 10-year international research project that started in 2000 revealed many facts about the distribution and diversity of marine life. But Hiroshi Kitazato, research director of the JAMSTEC Institute of Biogeosciences and leader of the current global journey, said much remains to be learned. “Most of the seas more than 2,500 meters deep or in the Southern Hemisphere have yet to be surveyed,” Kitazato said. “To fill those gaps, we are focusing on four marine areas, most of them depths in the Southern Hemisphere, during the current journey.” The Shinkai 6500 left its home port in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Jan. 5 on board the Yokosuka support vessel. It surveyed Indian Ocean waters off Madagascar between late January and March, the same location where a group of U.S. scientists in 2001 discovered the scaly-foot gastropod, a snail species whose crust and scales are coated with black iron sulfide. During an expedition in the same area in 2009, the Shinkai 6500 caught white variants of the scaly-foot gastropod that were not coated with iron sulfide. Scientists still cannot explain what caused the difference within the genetically identical species. The white variants also had tougher scales, raising the question about the role of iron sulfide. Both white and black specimens were caught during the latest expedition and are being raised aboard the Yokosuka. The scientists plan to investigate the formation process and the role of the coating. The hot water spouting from the seabed in the area contains high concentrations of hydrogen. The scientists hope to study organisms living near the hydrothermal vents to gain insight into the evolution processes of early life. Incipient life on primordial Earth is believed to have relied on hydrogen for its energy. The Madagascar expedition was followed by dives in the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil in April and May. It was the first full-scale scientific expedition in that area, home to sea mounts towering more than 5,000 meters in height and currents flowing in from both the Antarctic and North Atlantic oceans. The scientists confirmed that deep-sea corals, benthos and other creatures inhabited that complex environment. They hope to investigate how habitats vary with depth and geology. Seabed geology was also a study subject on its own. Scientists held a news conference in Brazil to announce the discovery of granite, a likely remnant of a continent. Media organizations around the world likened the story to a discovery of Atlantis. While legend says the Atlantis continent sank 12,000 years ago, the granite is estimated to have submerged in the ocean several tens of millions of years ago. The finding nonetheless provided an occasion for touting the romantic side of the scientific journey. The online relay took place at the third stop, on the voyage in the Caribbean Sea, where the temperature of the hot water spouts is estimated at 500 degrees. The scientists caught sea anemones, small shrimp and other creatures to study micro-organisms inhabiting the hydrothermal field, with which they live in symbiosis. Marine creatures used to travel back and forth past this area when the Pacific and Atlantic oceans were connected. But that traffic was blocked when the North and South American continents became connected 3 million years ago. The scientists plan to study how creatures of Pacific origin evolved in the Atlantic to gain insight into the acclimatization and evolution processes of living organisms. The Shinkai 6500 returned to Japan on Aug. 2 for recharging operations ahead of another expedition, from October, in the Tonga Trench, the second-deepest area in the world. “In only 2 percent of all marine areas do depths exceed 6,500 meters,” said Toshio Tsuchiya, a senior official in the JAMSTEC Marine Technology and Engineering Center. “That means the Shinkai 6500 can cover most areas.”
Kilo Class submarines.
As news came in that all 18 sailers aboard the Indian Navy's Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhurakshak may be died after a massive explosion rocked the vessel, here is a look at what a Kilo Class submarine is. The Kilo Class is the NATO designation for a naval diesel-electric submarine made in Russia. The original version of the vessels were designated Project 877 Paltus (Halibut) in Russia. The Kilo Class submarines are mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in relatively shallow waters. Original Project 877 vessels are equipped with Rubikon MGK-400 sonar system, which includes a mine detection and avoidance sonar MG-519 Arfa. The first Kilo Class submarine entered service in the Soviet Navy in 1980, and the vessel continues to be in service in Russain Navy. A total of 14 such vessels are believed to be in Russian Navy's fleet, with 17 in active service and seven in reserve. Till today, 33 such vessels have been exported to India, Algeria, China, Poland, Iran and Vietnam. Also, Venezuela and Indonesia have showed interest in acquiring Kilo Class submarines. These submarines are 70-74 metres long. The submarine can travel at the maximum speed of 10-12 knots when surfaced and 17-25 knots when under water. The submarines are propelled by a diesel-electric engine which generates 4,400 kw of power. These submarines can travel up to 700 km at 6 km/h when submerged. It can snorkel up to 11,000 km at 13 km/h. The vessels can stay in the sea for 45 days at a stretch, after which they need to return to docks/nearest port. These vessels can carry up to eight surface-to-air missiles and can carry 18 torpedoes or 14 underwater mines. These can carry 52 personnel on board. The price of one Kilo-Class vessel ranges between $200-250 million.
Indian submariners die after being trapped by explosion, fire.
Divers were desperately trying to pry open the hatches of an Indian submarine in which several sailors died or were trapped after an explosion and fire on Wednesday in the navy's worst loss since the 1971 war with Pakistan. Eighteen sailors were aboard the Russian-built INS Sindhurakshak when the blast struck after midnight. The accident soured a week of naval milestones, including the launch of a locally built aircraft carrier aimed at giving the navy heft as it competes with China in the Indian Ocean. Defence Minister A.K. Antony said crew members inside the diesel-electric Kilo-class submarine berthed at the main base in Mumbai had died. But he gave no details, more than 12 hours after the incident, which revived memories of explosions on the Russian nuclear-attack submarine Kursk in the Barents Sea in 2000. Its entire crew of 118 died. "There was an explosion immediately after midnight in the forward side of the submarine, where missiles and torpedoes are kept to be used whenever necessary," a naval source said. "Now the submarine is tilted on the front side and all hatches are closed. They are trying to open those now." He said one or two men are usually on duty on top of the submarine and they either jumped into the water or were thrown off by the force of the explosion. The number of crew in the boat when fully operational is 110. Navy spokesman P.V.S. Satish earlier said efforts were under way to rescue trapped crew members. "We will not give up until we get to them," he said. Photographs distributed by social media users appeared to show a large fireball over the navy dock.The INS Sindhurakshak, which returned from an upgrade in Russia earlier this year, had suffered a similar accident in 2010 in which one sailor was killed while it was docked in the southern port of Visakhapatnam. Typically, such a submarine is fitted with torpedoes and missiles. Torpedoes are launched underwater to attack other submarines while missiles are used for long ranges above water. There was no immediate word on the status of the weapons on board the Sindhurakshak. "Lot of things are in very close proximity, there is fuel, there is hydrogen, there is oxygen, there are weapons with high explosives on board," said retired Indian navy chief Arun Prakash. "So a slightest mistake or slightest accident can trigger off a huge accident. The question of sabotage - I mean, all possibilities have to be considered - but sabotage is probably the last possibility." Another submarine in the Mumbai dock where these vessels are usually tied to each other suffered minor damage, the naval source said. The last big loss for the navy was the sinking of the INS Khukri by a Pakistani navy torpedo during the 1971 war.Most of the country's fleet of 15 submarines is in urgent need of modernisation and has been hampered by delays in government decisions as it battles corruption allegations. Efforts to build a domestic arms industry to supply the military have made slow progress, with the country still the world's largest importer. Earlier this week, a aircraft carrier slipped into the sea, though it is due to be fully operational only by 2017. The navy also announced that the reactor on its first indigenous nuclear submarine was now operational as part of the plan to build a powerful navy to counter China's growing presence in the Indian Ocean. INS Sindhurakshak completed a 2-1/2 year upgrade at a Russian shipyard a few months ago. "This is a very, very old boat that really doesn't go out on long sea patrols," said Bharat Karnad, a senior fellow of national security studies, at the Centre for Policy Research. Three people near the submarine at the time of the explosion were injured and being treated in hospital, navy spokesman Satish said. The blast that ripped through the submarine INS Sindhurakshak has taken the sting out of the Navy’s already-enfeebled submarine arm. On record, the Indian Navy operates10 kilo-class (877 EKM a.k.a Sindhughosh-class) and four HDW (Shishumar-class) submarines besides the nuclear-powered INS Chakra, acquired last year from Russia on a 10 year lease. The regrettable state of the stealthy submarine arm — vital for maintaining the critical sea denial capability — is evident from the fact that the Navy hasn’t been able to shore up its sub-sea patrol capabilities by inducting a new conventional submarine after the year 2000, when INS Sindhushastra, the last of the Kilo-class boats from Russia, was added to the naval inventory. Worse, none of the Indian subs are equipped with air independent propulsion (AIP), which considerably enhances the underwater endurance of conventional diesel-electric submarines. Bereft of AIP, subs are forced to surface once in a few days for recharging their batteries, when they are most susceptible to detection by maritime patrol aircraft on the prowl. While Pakistan took delivery of PNS Hamza fitted with AIP from the French, it has already begun retrofitting two subs of the same class with the system. The Indian experiment of building subs indigenously at Mazagon Dock, which delivered INS Shalki and INS Shankul built on ToT in the early 1990s, went awry when the programme was shelved following allegations of corruption, which resulted in the nation’sloss of capability and skill sets acquired. More or less the same fate awaited the programme kick-started in mid-2000 — as part of the Navy’s high-value 30-year submarine building programme — to build six French-origin Scorpene class submarines at Mazagon Dock. Marred by a string of delays and cost overruns, the first in the class would at best be only delivered in 2016. Among the kilo-class submarines, while most of them have undergone extensive and costly upgrade in Russia, INS Sindhukirti has been idling at the Hindustan Shipyard since 2006. It was an experiment gone wrong that put paid to the submarine. While a section of top officials argued for sending it to Russia for refit, another wanted submarine refit capability to be developed indigenously. Finally, the Navy asked the dying Hindustan Shipyard to upgrade it, retrofitting it with new sensors like Ushus and weapons like the Klub missile. It was an attempt at rejuvenating a yard at the cost of a potent war-fighting platform, lamented a Navy officer. Meanwhile, the nuclear submarine programme to induct nuclear-powered ballistic submarines was announced as maturing at the close of the last decade. INS Arihant, the first of the nuclear subs, was launched in 2009 and its reactor went critical hardly a week ago. hree more vessels of the class are in the offing and Arihant with limited capabilities will be ready for commissioning next year. In the meantime, India has been toying with the idea of a second line of conventional submarines under the Navy’s Project 75-I, which hasn’t borne fruit yet. Last heard, a purchase notice for this is only likely to be issued in the next two months. Desperate to salvage its dipping submarine force-levels, the Navy is learnt to have asked the Defence Ministry to procure two conventional submarines under the project from the foreign collaborator, while four would be built between Mazagon Dock and Hindustan Shipyard.
Navy launches 4th 1,800-ton attack submarine.
South Korea's Navy launched its fourth 1,800-ton Type 214 submarine in a ceremony here on Tuesday as part of efforts to boost its underwater warfare capabilities against North Korean submarines. The ship, named after Korea's famous independence fighter Kim Jwa-jin (1889-1930), is the fourth of its kind in operation since 2010. Kim is Korea's first general of independence fighters who led the Cheongsan-ri battle to defeat 3,300 Japanese soldiers in China's northeastern region in 1920. President Park Geun-hye, Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and senior military officials attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony held at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering's shipyard in Geoje Island, close to the southern port city of Busan. The late general's daughter Kim Eul-dong, an incumbent lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party, and actor Song Il-kook, his grandson, also attended the ceremony.The ship can hit 300 targets simultaneously, and is equipped with ship-to-land missiles and torpedoes as well as an advanced sonar system for anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. The diesel-powered submarine is operated by Air Independent Propulsion (AIP), which extends the ship's submerged endurance compared to conventional submarines. The AIP system enables the crew to carry out underwater missions for several weeks without the need to access atmospheric oxygen. The Navy will take delivery of the attack submarine in late 2014 and deploy it in 2015 for naval operations, officials said. South Korea currently operates over 10 submarines, including 1,200-ton Type 209 subs and 1,800-ton Type 214 subs. The Navy plans to acquire nine 3,000-ton level heavy-attack submarines after 2020 with significant improvements in their radar and armament systems compared to their predecessors. North Korea is known to have about 70 submarines, one of which is suspected of having torpedoed a South Korean corvette in the tensely guarded western sea in March 2010. A total of 46 sailors were killed in the incident.
The Compact Semi Submarine.
submarines are not the most common way to cruise the sea. There are actually quite a few ways to enjoy the seas and many of them combine the submarine design. The semi submarine is a small design that resembles a buoy. The buoy-like aquatic vehicle has a deck above the water for chillin’ and an area below the water with a glass window for viewing marine life. Scuba diving and exploring life under the water is always cool. Not everyone wants to suit up and dive. This vehicle is a simple ways to enjoy the seas without the drama of a scuba dive. The four core technology features allow the boat to not move into shallow areas and get stuck. There is also an underwater camera that can monitor the activity above water and keep tabs on the directions that the semi submarine is travelling. The two floating hulls on both sides ensure extreme stability. The Ego is controlled by a wireless controller. Having one of these on deck is essential to make the most of that beach life.
The third of six new “black hole” submarines that Russia is making for the Vietnamese navy will be floated out later this month, the shipbuilder said Monday, adding that the first of another six, for Russia’s own Black Sea Fleet, would be floated out in November.The Varshavyanka-class (Project 636M) diesel-electric subs, dubbed by the US Navy as “black holes in the ocean” because they are nearly undetectable when submerged, are primarily designed for anti-shipping and anti-submarine missions in relatively shallow waters.The first of the submarines, which completed its 100-day sea trials last month and for which a Vietnamese crew has been training since April, is expected to be delivered to that country in November, according to the manufacturer, Admiralty Shipyards. Vietnam ordered the six submarines in 2009, counterbalancing China’s expanding maritime influence in the region. That contract, which also stipulated the training of Vietnamese crews in Russia, was reportedly worth $2 billion. The Varshavyanka class is an improvement on the Kilo, with more advanced stealth technology and an extended combat range. Construction of the first Varshavyanka-class sub for the Black Sea Fleet, a vessel named the Novorossiisk, began in 2010 and has been completed ahead of schedule, the shipbuilder said. The submarines, which feature 533-milimeter torpedo tubes and are armed with torpedoes, mines and Kalibr 3M54 (NATO SS-N-27 Sizzler) cruise missiles, displace 3,100 tons, reach speeds of 20 knots, can dive to 300 meters and carry crews of 52 people.
Triton Submarines to Reveal New Models in Monaco.
The next generation of Tritons will include 4, 6 and 8 passenger models as well as a 2-passenger model rated for 5500 feet (1,675 meters) and the Triton 36000/3 Full Ocean Depth (rated for 36,000 feet/11,000 meters).In 2011, Triton launched the first Triton 3300/3, which has played a key role in filming marine life for the science community, including the first ever filming of the elusive giant squid at depths of 600-900 metres. Triton’s President, Patrick Lahey, said: “Triton broke new ground with the Triton 3300/3. The 3300/3’s acrylic sphere is the largest and thickest ever produced for a submersible.“Triton’s newest models will once again set the standard for performance and innovation. We are looking forward to introducing our 4, 6 and 8-passenger deep submersibles at the 2013 Monaco Yacht Show.”Triton will also be featuring innovative submersible support vessel (SSV) designs developed in partnership with Bury Design, including the unique Triton Launch and Recovery Catamaran (LARC), a highly efficient SSV capable of speeds up to 20 knots with a range of up to 1,000 nautical miles.
China's craze for DIY plumbs new depths.
It started well for amateur submariner Tao Xiangli , as his home-made underwater craft slid below the surface of an idyllic rural lake, watched by an entire village.But then the submarine stalled and got stuck in the mud. After nearly 10 minutes of anxious waiting, onlookers began to panic. Some dived into the water to check that the submariner was alright. Finally, villagers pulled the vessel and its intrepid inventor to safety.The little adventure of the DIY peasant inventor has become a hit video clip widely circulated on the internet in recent days.Tao, a 34-year-old Beijing-based migrant worker from Anhui province, has become an internet sensation since word began to spread last summer of his unusual hobby - building submarines. His latest craft is six metres long, weighs almost two tonnes, and is made mostly out of metal barrels. The vessel is cramped, with room for only one person.However, it houses all the necessary features of a submarine, such as pressure gauges, monitoring cameras, a TV set, an oxygen supply and headlights. The mainland is experiencing a DIY engineering fad, with enthusiasts building everything from submarines and aircraft to robots. Many use countryside ponds and hills to practise, though a lack of safety measures means this type of hobby is not for the faint-hearted.
Yasen-class nuclear attack submarines to give Russia major edge.
Large-scale construction of the next-generation Project 885 Yasen-class multi-purpose nuclear attack submarine, armed with Onyx supersonic cruise missiles has begun in Russia. The ships will compete with the latest American Seawolf-class nuclear submarines in terms of their noise profile and will be world leaders in terms of fire power. Moscow plans to acquire at least 10 of these boats by 2020. The fourth submarine in this class was laid down in Severodvinsk on the eve of Navy Day, which was celebrated on the last Sunday in July. The Project 885 nuclear submarine is the quintessence of everything the Russian military industrial complex has achieved in over half a century of building submarines. The vessel has a hull made from high-resilience low-magnetic steel, and so can dive to a depth of more than 600 metres (conventional boats cannot go deeper than 300 metres), which effectively puts it out of reach of all types of modern anti-submarine weapons. Its maximum speed is more than 30 knots (about 60 kilometres per hour). The nuclear submarine is equipped with an escape pod for the whole crew.The Russian designers say that the Yasen is not only quieter than the Project 971 Akula, but also quieter than the latest American Seawolf nuclear submarine. Moreover, unlike those vessels, the new missile submarine will be more functional thanks to the weapons at its disposal (several types of cruise missile and torpedo) and will be able to fulfil a wide range of roles at sea. The Akula nuclear submarine is currently the most important of the Russian multi-purpose attack submarines designed for raiding operations against sea lanes. Virtually inaudible in the depths of the ocean, they are equally effective against transport vessels and warships, and can also hit the enemy’s coastal infrastructure with cruise missiles. Akula submarines were recently spotted within the 200-mile zone of the coasts of the United States and Canada, which caused a serious commotion among the countries’ respective militaries. Having discovered the presence of these ‘guests,’ neither of them was able to track their movement, which naturally caused serious concern. After all, the Akula carries on board 28 Kh-55 Granat cruise missiles, the equivalent of the American Tomahawk, which can fly 3000 km and deliver 200-kilotonne nuclear warheads to their targets. The main attack system on the Yasen is the P-800 Onyx, the latest Russian supersonic cruise missile. This missile is the base version for two absolutely identical export versions in terms of their appearance: the Russian Yakhont and the Indian BrahMos, although with significantly reduced combat characteristics. These devices are capable of being fired from under water. They fly at a speed of 750 metres per second and carry a devastating high-explosive warhead weighing half a tonne. They have a range of more than 600 kilometres. The Onyx is guided to its target by a navigational system that operates on target designation data, that is inputted provisionally to the missile before it is launched. At a predetermined point in the trajectory (25–80 kilometres), the missile’s homing device is briefly activated and determines the precise location of the target. The homing device is activated again after a sharp reduction in altitude of 5–15 metres, just seconds before it hits the enemy. This is to ensure that when the enemy detects the missile’s launch it cannot ‘jam’ the missile with electronic countermeasures. But it’s not its high speed or the protection of its homing device against electronic countermeasures that makes the Onyx a super-modern weapon. Once it is launched from the submarine, the missile finds the target by itself. After determining their coordinates, the missiles ‘wait’ until the last one is out of the launch tubes and then line up, just like a wolf pack, and begin to ‘home in on their prey’. The designers are not really advertising this point, but it’s the missiles themselves that decide which missile attacks which target and how. The missile ‘pack’ decides these targets, classifies them in terms of importance, and selects the tactics for the attack and the plan for its execution. In order to prevent mistakes, the missile’s on-board computer system is programmed with electronic data on all modern classes of ship. This is purely tactical information – for example, on the class of vessel. This enables the missiles to determine what they are up against, whether it be an aircraft-carrier or landing group, and then to attack the main targets within the group. The Onyx missile’s on-board computer also holds data on how to counter the enemy’s electronic warfare systems, which can divert a missile from its target, and systems for evading anti-aircraft defence systems. At the same time, like wolves in a real pack, the missiles themselves decide which one of them is the main attacker and which one must take the role of the decoy to lure the enemy’s aircraft and air defence systems away. Once the main selected target has been destroyed, the other missiles immediately redistribute the combat assignments between themselves and begin to destroy other vessels. There is no ship in the world that can dodge an attack by Onyx missiles. Yes, ship-borne radar systems can detect that they have been launched, but then further resistance is useless. The speed of these missiles and the way they constantly manoeuvre above the surface of the sea makes it practically impossible to intercept them with air defence systems or aircraft. Another advantage of the Onyx missile is that it can be used with various types of carriers. In Russia, it is installed not only in submarines but also on surface vessels and mobile land-based platforms – the Bastion shore-based missile systems. It’s the presence of these systems in Syria that so worries Washington today. Onyx will also be included in the weaponry of the Su-30MK family of fighters and the latest Su-34 frontline bombers. But the most important thing is that the next generation following the Onyx is already on its way. This is the Zircon, the first hypersonic combat missile system, for which testing is due to start next year.
According to a well-placed source in the South African defence environment, only one of the three submarines can go to sea as the South African Navy (SAN) only has enough personnel to man one at a time. Further compounding this is the fact that the Navy’s submarine fleet spends two thirds of its time in the dockyard. The submarine SAS Manthatisi is still in the dock as she undergoes maintenance related to electrical systems – the batteries were damaged in 2007 when a sailor plugged in an incorrect electrical system. According to the source, the entire electronics of the submarine were damaged when this occurred. A new battery was ordered but Manthatisi’s refit will only be completed in July next year, leaving SAS Queen Modjaji and SAS Charlotte Maxeke operationally available. However, top South African defence analyst Helmoed Romer Heitman told defenceWeb that the Manthatisi’s batteries were not destroyed and they are being replaced because they are at the end of their lives. “The one mistake was saving money by buying batteries from a company outside Germany, which did cause some problems,” he said. Experiences with gas build up in the batteries has caused some issues. “The Navy had planned to run the three 209s the way they had run the three Daphnes: one fully operational; one in commission and operational but used mainly for training and alternating with the operational boat for minor maintenance; and the third in reserve pending refit timed to bring it back into service as another approaches its refit date,” Heitman said.“On that basis they trained up two crews and drove 101 [SAS Manthatisi] and 102 [SAS Charlotte Maxeke] hard during their warranty periods – to make sure that any faults surfaced while the Germans would still have to pay for them; then when 103 [SAS Queen Modjadji] was available, they docked 101 and used the crew to fetch 103 and drive that hard during the warranty period. The Navy then went over to rotating 102 and 103 as the two operational boats, and 101 is now in refit and will take the place of the one of the other two with the most sea time, which will then go into refit. “Meanwhile the Navy has found that the new technologies in these boats make it possible to keep two fully operational at all times, not rotating as planned, and intend to move to that. But that will require two crews plus about half a crew to allow for training, work on the third boat, etc. That is one part of the problem. The other is…the drain of qualified people – operational and technical – and a reluctance of many people…to serve in boats.”
ICTINEU Submarines, in Barcelona are about to complete construction of our ICTINEU 3 research submersible. It is a 3-person vehicle rated to 1200m (4.000 feet) and classed by GL. This will be Spain's first deep sea research submersible and be among the top 10 deepest (active) submersibles in the world. We are at the end of a 5 year endeavour with only a few weeks from final assembly and start of sea trials. The Ictineu 3 is a cutting edge manned submersible vehicle, with a powerful state-of-the-art battery package that can drive up to 20 miles underwater. This incredible range is achieved through exacting hydrodynamics and vehicle efficiency making ICTINEU 3 an excellent tool for underwater exploration, scientific research and underwater intervention.
Canadian Navy submarine damage severe.
HMCS Corner Brook hit seafloor off British Columbia in 2011. Slamming into the seafloor at 11 km/h damaged one of Canada's submarines more severely than the navy originally admitted to the public, new documents obtained by CBC show. The Royal Canadian Navy's Damage Assessment and Options Analysis report for HMCS Corner Brook tells a story of a submarine suffering "extensive damage" from "tearing and dents" that left a gaping, two-metre hole in the submarine’s bow. Seawater was "roiling" in the parts of the submarine and two of its torpedo tube doors had been torn off when it rammed the ocean floor off British Columbia two years ago. The submarine had 60 people aboard, including some of the most experienced and senior submariners in the navy, when it rammed the rocky seafloor while cruising 45 metres below the surface. Two sailors were slightly injured during the June 4, 2011 collision.The navy's official board of inquiry blamed Lt.-Cmdr. Paul Sutherland, the sub's captain, for the collision. The inquiry was closed to the public and the navy only released a one-page summary of the hearing. The navy has publicly called the accident a "fender bender" which resulted in no structural damage. But the navy's internal report tells a much different story. The damage report obtained by CBC under Access to Information was completed three days after the grounding and contains photographs detailing the damage to the Corner Brook. While Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, now commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, assured Canadians the damage was not as bad as it looked, the report says "structural state of subsunk." navy shorthand for unknown. "Location of strike likely to have caused shock stress transmission within forward structure," states the navy's early damage report. Norman had denied the damaged extended beyond what could be seen in several photographs obtained by CBC in February 2012. The photos showed the submarine after it was hauled from the water with a hole in it the size of a ping-pong table. "The navy has not been upfront with Canadians about the degree of damage and just how close we came to a truly serious accident. I think the Canadian navy has to come clean across the board with respect to Canada's Victoria class submarines,” said Michael Byers, a University of British Columbia defence expert who has been critical of the submarine program in the past. The report said that there are "strong indications" of damage to the main ballast tank that may extend to the pressure hull of the submarine. The pressure hull is a thick, rolled-steel area of the submarine where sailors live and work. "This accident came very close to claiming the lives of the entire crew,” said Byers, who co-authored a recent report on Canada's fleet of four second-hand British-built submarines. Byers said if the pressure hull is twisted or damaged, it may be impossible for the navy to fix. “Please bear in mind that the documents you have from the ATI request were created very soon after HMCS Corner Brook ran aground in 2011,” wrote Department of National Defence spokeswoman Tracy Poirier in an email to CBC. “While I can say that more work has been done since then to look into what damage the submarine incurred, I have not been able to find out any details as to what was learned during these subsequent surveys.” The navy has said it intends to repair the 2,400-tonne submarine during its scheduled refit period, which is to begin this year and run until 2016. The navy will replace the British torpedo system and other sensors and communications equipment that came with the four Victoria-class submarines Canada bought in 1998. A similar refit process was just completed on another submarine from the class — HMCS Windsor — and it took five years instead of the planned two. The cost of the work on the Windsor totalled $209 million and still only one of the sub's two generators is operational, limiting the distance the sub can go away from land. The navy has not said how much more it will cost to attempt to repair the collision damage to the 70-metre-long Corner Brook. "If it turns out not to have worked after an attempt at repairing the vessel then Canadian taxpayers will have poured close a billion dollars into a bottomless pit trying to recover this submarine," said Byers.
The depths of Falmouth Bay hold many a secret, but none more intriguing than the rust-pocked carcasses of World War I German U-Boats just off Pendennis Point. Salvaged from Scapa Flow in Scotland where the enemy fleet had scuppered itself at the end of the war, the handful of submarines were brought to Falmouth Bay as part of the war reparations scheme. While some were used for target practice, the majority were sunk when a freak storm blew them off their moorings and onto the shore. British archaeologists have discovered more than 40 German U-boats sunk during the first World War. Located just off England’s southern and eastern coast, the subs have been disintegrating for nearly a hundred years. It’s now a race against time to examine the wrecks before they vanish forever.The U-boats were discovered by underwater archaeologist Mark Dunkley along the southern and eastern coasts of the UK. It’s the largest conglomeration of sunken subs ever found, consisting of 41 German U-boats and three English submarines — all from World War I.The subs, all of them near the coast, rest at depths of about 15 meters (50 feet). And because many of the subs sank with crew on board, future expeditions will likely find the remains of sailors inside the wrecks (or “disaster samples” in the parlance of the field).Interestingly, some of the subs have been linked to several U-boats still listed with the German Imperial Navy as missing, including UB 17, a subway crewed by 21 men under the command of naval Lieutenant Albert Branscheid, and the 27-member crew of UC 21, a minelayer commanded by naval Lieutenant Werner von Zerboni di Sposetti.At the start of WWI, there were only 28 U-boats under the command of Kaiser Wilhelm II, a tiny number compared to the Allied fleet. But by the end of the war, the Germans produced some 380 U-boats — half of which were lost at sea.The find could also shed some insight into the war itself. It’s interesting to note that two or three German U-boats were often found lying in close proximity to one another — possible evidence of a certain German combat strategy. By early 1917, the Germans began to target British commercial ships on a large scale. In turn, the Royal Navy reacted by providing freighters with warship escorts, along with airships and aircraft to spot enemy subs from above."We owe it to these people to tell their story," says Dunkley, who works for English Heritage, a public body that is part of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Dunkley and his team will explore the wrecks in the coming months.
Worlds Most Innovative Non-Nuclear Submarine.
The German Navy will be getting a revolutionary new submarine the 212A class. Conventional does not really do justice to it,non-nuclear would be better. The new submarine's outstanding feature is its atmospheric air independent propulsion system. This propulsion system is based on a quiet-running hydrogen fuel cell which not only makes the submarine very difficult to detect but also allows it to stay submerged for a long period of time.
A small privately constructed submersible designed for two or three persons. Ideal for underwater filming, research, and personal recreation. Operating Depth: 500ft (test depth 725ft). Length 12ft and width 5ft. Numerous viewports. Life support for three days. Over 500 dives completed todate. Training course available.
This is an exciting leisure submarine, which is ideal for underwater filming and pleasure activities in shallow water depths. Exceptional 360-degree viewing, through the acrylic hull. Operating Depth: 150ft(50m) with possible upgrade to 100m. Weight: 4tons. Crew: One pilot and two passengers. External lights, underwater communications, and sonar.
Dual Deepworker Submersibles.
This exciting package of dual Deepworker submersibles is now available for sale. Each Deepworker is a one-man tetherless submersible capable of working in depths up to 2000ft. Certification: Lloyd's Register of Shipping.
Submersible pilots in the past have been constrained to only piloting the vehicle and monitoring his systems, which are critical tasks. Deepworker operators can be alleviated from a number of these tasks due to technology, modernization and the inherent ergonomic design of this particular vehicle. In this design the pilot is seated upright. The view port is a 25" hemispherical dome. The pilot can enter desired depth and heading data into the PLC and Instruct the PLC to maintain that course, depth and heading. The PLC will continue to perform that function until cancelled by the pilot. The versatility of the PLC along with the ancillary computer also allows for other capabilities such as acoustic electronic communication of critical operational information with the surface vessel. The submersible is outfitted with a six-function manipulator. Additional hydraulic tooling is easily integrated such as water jets, suctions, and guillotines. An additional manipulator can be installed for specific dexterity requirements.
UNCOVERING SECRETS OF (ANOTHER) LOST CIVIL WAR SUBMARINE.
A joint research project is yielding new details about
the U.S. Navy's first submarine, the USS "Alligator." The
U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Navy's
Office of Naval Research joined forces to uncover the secrets of a technological
marvel of the Civil War era akin to the USS "Monitor" ironclad warship
and the Confederate submarine CSS "Hunley" -- the USS Alligator.
Launched in 1862, the Alligator was the U.S. Navy's first submarine.
While the vessel represented a significant leap forward in naval
engineering, complete information about its design and fate has been elusive.
Today, NOAA and ONR released findings that help fill large gaps
in the history of the all-but-forgotten Union submarine, including details
about the Alligator's inventor, innovative features, and loss in April
1863. "NOAA is excited to partner with the Office of Naval Research
to bring the largely untold story of the Alligator to the public,"
said Dr. Richard W. Spinrad, assistant administrator for NOAA's National
Ocean Service. "Through the Alligator Project, we are learning not
only about revolutionary developments in maritime technology but also the American Civil War experience and the pioneering spirit that built
our great nation."
A multi purpose submersible, designed for one-atmosphere operations, diver lockout, dry transfer, and submarine rescue (DSRV). This submersible is in excellent condition and dive ready. Suitable for underwater tourism, scientific research, search and salvage, and a range of military tasks. Crew: six (normal), six (diver lockout operations), twenty-two (DSRV operations). Operational Depth: 1200ft (400m). Weight: 22 tons. One large front viewport, one large aft viewport, four tower viewports, one lower viewport. Fitted with external lighting, sonar system, acoustic tracking, communications, manipulator arm, and hydraulic cable cutter.
Mapping Uncharted Waters.
An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) called Autosub is about to become the first surveyor to breach one of the last unknown regions of the world. It will plunge into the unexplored pockets of the sea beneath the ice shelves of Antarctica. Travelling through the Amundsen Sea under the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, Autosub will gather data for four projects sponsored by the Natural Environment Resource Council. The aim is to understand the interactions between the glacier and the ocean, which may reveal the effects of global warming on the Antarctic region.
Adventurer-Sub for sale.
I have a Sub for sale (140ft depth, 3 crew) made by a small company in Florida.The inside of the sub is almost complete. The a/c gets installed next week. The dash is complete and looks great.The sub has been tested about 15 times and the biggest problem was the diesel and electric engines. But that is all fixed now. The tests where all in shallow water (25 ft.or less). More tests have to be done to find neutral buoyancy. The sub is not finished, but all the equipment is 100% paid for, with all parts and labour under a one year warranty. To finish the sub it will take testing and very little money. The builder says he will not build another one like mine for under $250,000. I upgraded almost every part over the last two years. I have registered the boat in Florida and the coast guard have approved it. This submarine would be a great buy for any enthusiast. Please inform all your readers."
FREE-DIVING WORLD RECORD SET
Cabo San Lucas, México -- Off the coast here, Pipin Ferreras set a new no limits free-diving world record of 558 feet (170 meters). Dr. Titanic, used manned submersibles and above and below water cameras to document the record. The dive took place at 11:30 a.m. in calm seas and light winds. The water temperature at the surface was 82°F and 55°F at 558 feet. The depth was confirmed using a precision instrument carried on Pipin's back, said McCoy. The cylindrical device, which contains a microprocessor, is accurate to within 3 inches and has been used to certify free-diving world records since 1995. For more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Medium Tourist Submarine for sale.
A new-build medium size multi passenger tourist submarine, designed for the underwater leisure market. Operating Depth: 300ft (100m). Crew: Two pilots and twenty-four passengers. Weight: 35 tons. Large viewports on all sides. External lights, communications, video and sonar.
DRUGS FROM THE SEA - ELUSIVE CANCER KILLER'S DEEP-SEA HIDEOUT DISCOVERED.
Ft. Pierce, Florida, USA -- In 1984, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution scientists discovered a small piece of sponge in the deep waters off the Bahamas that harboured chemical with a remarkable ability to kill cancer cells in laboratory tests. Despite almost two decades of subsequent searching, the group was never able to find enough of the sponge to fully explore its potential. But now that process can finally be in because, thanks to some creative detective work, the team has found the animal's secret hiding place and collected enough of it to support years of intense research. "It's just amazing," says Dr. Amy Wright, director of HBOIs Biomedical Marine Research, of the sponge she has been in a career-long quest to find. "This is our next cure, I know it's our next cure." A chemical produced within the sponge, which has not yet been given an official name, has proven in one test of cancer-fighting potential to be about 400 times more potent than Taxol®, a widely used treatment for breast and other forms of cancer. As important, preliminary experiments have also shown the compound to be fairly non-toxic to normal cells. But the limited amount of the sponge initially collected was not enough to carry the team through the long process of developing a potential medical treatment, which involves careful study of exactly how a chemical kills cancer cells and of its chemical structure.
On various expeditions over the years, scientists found only tiny pieces of the sponge, then last year two slightly larger pieces, but still they did not have enough to do the required research. So, in preparation for a cruise this year to the Bahamas that ran from October 9th through the 24th, Wright and her team used clues from where each piece had been collected to put together a profile of the habitat where it must live. The sponge was found in water more than 1,000 feet deep in an area the researchers often refer to as the "dead zone" because it is generally characterized by bare rock and very low biodiversity. The sponge, which can grow to about the size of a softball, had eluded researchers for so long because they generally avoid this area in favour of exploring more diverse habitats. Wright predicts that the quantity of the sponge collected on the expedition using the submersible should be enough to carry the team through the full multiyear drug discovery process, possibly even to the first phase of human trials. "I never thought I would see that much of the sponge ever," says Wright, "Now we have enough to move forward." Harbor Branch has already patented nearly a hundred potential pharmaceuticals from the tens of thousands of the organisms the Biomedical Marine Research group has collected since the 1980s at sites around the globe. Several of these are in various stages of development as potential commercial drugs. Discodermolide, a compound produced by a deep-water sponge found in the Bahamas, is currently in the first phase of human trials as a cancer treatment. For more information about this expedition as well as background articles on the team's research, visit Harbor Branch's online expedition site.
Hyball Rov available for sale.
In excellent condition, all latest circuit boards and modifications. Extensive spare parts package included. Training course available. Fantastic buy, a bargain.
NORWEGIAN, FINNISH NAVIES USING HUGIN AUV.
Horten, Norway -- Following successful operations with Kongsberg Maritime's Hugin AUV early September in Luce Bay, Scotland, (in conjunction with the NATO exercise Northern Light*), the Royal Norwegian Navy mine hunter HNoMS Karmøy transferred east to Finnish waters for further challenges with the Hugin AUV and Minesniper mine disposal vehicle, according to company spokeswoman. In co-operation with the Finnish Navy, a series of survey tests were carried out over a one-and-a-half-week time period to test and evaluate the Karmøy`s capability to detect, classify, and neutralize mine threats using the vessels complete range of mine countermeasure capability, including the Hugin, the MICOS 2 system, and the Minesniper mine disposal vehicle. Several missions were conducted in different areas to demonstrate the Hugin's capability in REA and MCM operations, including mine detection, localization, and classification. The vehicle was mostly run in autonomous mode, surfacing at regular intervals for vehicle navigation system updates by global positioning system (GPS) and communication with the mother ship via the radio link. Submerged, the acoustic links were used to communicate vehicle status and changes to the mission, if found necessary. For most of the operations, the Hugin was operated autonomously at very remote distances from the mother ship. For more information, contact Kongsberg Maritime Sales department on +47 3302 3938, e-mail email@example.com.
SUBMARINE MUSEUM SEEKING HELP.
U.S. NAVY ANNOUNCES SSGN CONVERSION CONTRACT .
General Dynamics Electric Boat Corp. was awarded a cost-plus-incentive-fee
contract worth $222 million for the
Mergo Submarine for sale.
The Mergo is a tourist submarine, safe and comfortable, designed for the smaller tourist resort. This submarine is ideal for start-up operations, and organisations entering the underwater market for the first time. Operating Depth 300ft (100m). Crew: One pilot and ten passengers. Weight: 24 tons. Large front viewport, large tower viewport, ten large individual passenger viewports. External lights, sonar, acoustic tracking, video and communications.
Silvercrest/SME build and repair ROV submersible motors for all subsea applications. We design, manufacture, and supply, submersible electric motors for all SUBSEA and ROV, SUBSEA equipment, also for any special purpose submersible electric motor requirements.
Silvercrest/SME offer SUBSEA electric generators for Tidal Power Generation.
We repair and rewind large high voltage (500kW, 6600V) submersible electric motors.
Induction Generators or slow speed Permanent Magnet Synchronous Generators unto 500kW.
SUBMERSIBLE MOTORS and PUMPS.
We have our own submersible motors that are drop-in replacements for most of the popular models in use today.
We can supply ROV HPU submersible motors from 30kW to 250kW, trenching HPU submersible motors from 100kW to 500kW, trenching jetting pumps, plough HPU submersible motors, plough jetting pump sets, turbine and centrifugal water pumps, and hydraulic pumps (Rexroth A7 and A10 series, Sauer 90 series and Kawasaki KV3 series).
Silvercrest/SME design and build specialized Submersible ROV motors for use SUBSEA in the offshore industry. These motors are usually made to order and vary from 1kW to 600kW, from 400 to 6600 Volts, 50 or 60 Hz, 2 Pole, 4 Pole, 6 Pole and 8 Pole.
We can repair, rewind, rebuild, and redesign any ROV submersible electric motor.
Silvercrest/SME design and manufacture specialized motors for use on SUBSEA equipment used in the offshore industry.
There are two common methods of construction - stainless steel construction or Marine Grade aluminium that is Black anodized to resist corrosion. We can also offer motors manufactured from Duplex and Super Duplex stainless steel.
Our subsea motors are usually oil filled and pressure compensated. The common operating voltages are 400 volts, 3300 volts, 4160 volts and 6600 volts (even for small 5kW motors).
Our motors operate at depths down to 4000 metres, or deeper by special request.
Silvercrest/SME manufacture complete submersible electric motors, motor-pump sets, and ROV HPU.
We offer submersible motor rewinding / rebuilding /electrical conversion / and original construction modification.
SME can repair and completely rebuild most submersible electric motors (for example: Alstra, Aturia, Bamsa, B. J., Elmaksan, Exodyne/EEMI, G.E., Hayward Tyler, Hitachi, Mercury, Oddesse, Pleuger, Saer, S.M.E., Subteck, Sumo, Sun Star, U.S.).
Silvercrest/SME manufactures new Submersible and ROV Motors. SME also services and repairs all brands of Submersible and ROV Motors. Including Hitachi, Pleuger, Grundfos, Mercury, Byron Jackson, Haywood Tyler, and Franklin. Our business is to manufacture, supply and service Submersible Electric Motors, Subsea and ROV motors. With a compliment of 30 service orientated staff members, we have the ability to service and technically support all makes and models of Submersible Electric Motors at our Maddington, Perth facility. Our sales department, with a total of 75 years experience in the Submersible and Electric motor business, are happy to assist with any enquiries on the purchase of Submersible Motors, HPU, and motor-pump sets, ranging from 3.7kw to 1500kw, in various voltages and frequencies.
In our 1200 ft facility, purpose built for manufacture and service of Submersible Electric Motors we offer the following in-house services:
Full Machine Shop capacity.
Voltage Testing through 10,000 volts.
ISO9001 quality assured workshop.
An Overhead crane through 10 ton capacity.
A state of the art Water Pressure Test facility with full international certification.
High POT and Surge Testing.
Full Load / Dyno testing to 250kw of all types of Electric Motors with detailed test reports.
Balancing Facility available, to 250 kg.
SME are a fully integrated manufacturing facility and in addition to our Standard range of submersible motors we also offer the following:
Special Motors for specialist applications.
4 Pole, 6 Pole and 8 Pole motors.
All Stainless Steel or more exotic material construction.
Special Thrust ratings.
Special Lead manufacturing.
NEMA and other couplings in a variety of materials.
Replacement parts of obsolete products.
Technical assistance during Commissioning.
Repairs to all makes (Oil and Water filled).
Rewinds of all Voltages (200 volt to 6.6kv) with 1 Year Warranty on all rewinds.
Welding and Machining.
On site or Factory Based Cable Splicing.
Retro Fitting of Condition Monitoring Equipment.
Modification of existing motors to upgrade them higher specifications.
Refurbishment of ROV motors using more technically advanced materials.
U.S. MILITARY CONTRACT NEWS.
Electric Boat Corp., Groton, Connecticut, was awarded
a $42.1 million contract modification for the execution of the USS Seawolf
(SSN 21) selected restricted availability (SRA). The U.S. Navy Supervisor
of Shipbuilding Conversion & Repair, Groton Connecticut, is the contracting
WHOI SCIENTISTS TO BUILD HYBRID ROV
Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA -- For the first time
since 1960, U.S. scientists will be able to explore the deepest parts
of the world's oceans, up to 7 miles below the surface, with a novel
underwater vehicle capable of performing multiple tasks in extreme conditions.
Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution here are
developing a battery-powered underwater robot to enable scientists to
explore the ocean's most remote regions up to 11,000 meters deep.
A spokeswoman said the hybrid HROV will be able to operate in two
modes -- as an autonomous or free-swimming vehicle for wide area surveys,
and as a tethered vehicle for close-up sampling and other tasks.
In the latter mode, it will use a novel fiber-optic micro cable only one
thirty-second of an inch thick, a significant departure from the large,
heavy cables typically used with tethered vehicles. The deep-sea
vehicle will require new technologies such as ceramic housings for cameras
and other electronic equipment to withstand the pressures at the
vehicle's extreme operating depths, she said. Funding for the four-year,
$5-million HROV project is provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation,
with additional support from the U.S. Navy and the National Oceanic
& Atmospheric Administration. Principal investigators are Andrew
Bowen and Dana Yoerger of WHOI's Deep Submergence Laboratory in the Applied
Ocean Physics & Engineering Department and Louis Whitcomb, an
associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland). Whitcomb is
also a visiting investigator in DSL. The new vehicle will undergo
initial trails in three years.
KES DELIVERY OF BLUEFIN21 FOR SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION.
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA -- The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar & Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany, recently took delivery of a 3,000-meter-depth-rated Bluefin21 AUV, which is the newest generation of Bluefin's AUV technology. Among other things, the vehicle will be used for scientific research near and under the polar ice caps where obstacle avoidance and highly accurate dead-reckoning navigation are crucial for vehicle ope>ration. Bluefin is a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AUV Lab and has been manufacturing autonomous underwater vehicles and sub-sea batteries since 1997. Bluefin's current product line includes the Bluefin21, the Bluefin12, and the Bluefin9, as well as pressure-tolerant batteries in 1 kilowatt-hour, 2 kilowatt-hour, and 3 kilowatt-hour sizes. The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar & Marine Research was established as a public foundation in 1980. It is a member of the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and conducts research in the arctic, the Antarctic, and at temperate latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides both the necessary equipment and the essential logistic >back up for polar expeditions. More about the AUVs at http://www.bluefinrobotics.com/.
NRC CALLS FOR MORE DEEP-DIVING U.S. SUBMERSIBLES
The report, Future Needs in Deep Submergence Science: Occupied and Unoccupied Vehicles in Basic Ocean Research, notes that Alvin has been modified over the years to allow it to take a pilot and two scientists to depths of 4,500 meters. The report calls for a new and more capable manned vehicle that should provide the scientists onboard with improved visibility and achieve neutral buoyancy at various depths -- which Alvin has difficulty doing -- so that researchers can pause to study life forms that exist between the surface and the seafloor. A detailed engineering study also is needed to assess the costs and technical risks of extending the diving range of an upgraded manned vehicle to 6,500 meters.
A new manned submersible could be built by 2006, the report says, but given the high demand for deep-diving research vehicles and for submersibles that can go deeper than 1500 meters, a new, more capable unmanned submersible should be built by 2004 or 2005. NSF's Division of Ocean Science has a budget of $25 million to upgrade the nation's fleet of deep-diving research submersibles. The report follows on the heels of an NRC report issued earlier this month that called for the construction of a number of new manned and unmanned deep-sea submersibles as part of a proposal for a large-scale ocean exploration program. The newest report will be available early next year from the National Academies Press. Contact the office on +1 (202) 334-3313 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu/
SONARDYNE JOINS HUNT FOR GERMAN U-BOAT
Yateley, Hampshire, U.K. -- A major operation to study the wreckage of a World War II German U-boat in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has been supported with deep-water acoustic positioning equipment from Sonardyne International Ltd. here. The wreck was found by C&C Technologies Inc. surveyors during a pipeline route survey for Shell Exploration and BP Exploration in 2001. The company had been using an AUV when it came across wreckage in 5,000 feet of water that marine archaeologists suspected was the remains of U-166. This U-boat was responsible for torpedoing and sinking the passenger freighter SS Robert E Lee near New Orleans in July 1942 with many lives lost. In a joint venture with C&C, the Office of Ocean Exploration (U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration), the PAST Foundation, and the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the NOAA research vessel Ronald Brown was mobilized in October 2003 to carry out a comprehensive ROV survey of the U-166 site. A television crew also joined the expedition to film a documentary for the History Channel's Deep Sea Detectives which is expected to be broadcast in April 2004. For the project, a Sonsub Inc. (Houston, Texas) Innovator ROV was equipped with high-resolution camera equipment, scanning sonar, and a Sonardyne RovNav acoustic transceiver. Because of the water depth, a Sonardyne long baseline acoustic positioning system was chosen as the primary positioning solution. The ROV?s first task was to deploy five Sonardyne Compatt transponders around the wreck site to create a navigation network in which the ROV an wreck could be positioned. A Sonardyne ultra-short baseline system was used to track the ROV on its descent to the bottom and to provide the ROV crew with the relative position of the vehicle?s tether management system.
During the five-day survey of the U-166, the team
from C&C also successfully investigated the site of the Robert E.
Lee, which lies within a mile of the submarine. The project
now stands as the deepest archaeological study project ever undertaken
in the Gulf of Mexico. The data and spectacular images that were
collected will enable archaeologists to piece together a detailed
record of these historic sites. The recent successful use of an
LBL system on the important site of the Mary Rose warship in the U.K. is further confirmation that acoustic positioning systems can make
a significant difference to the amount of archaeology that can be accomplished
in a short time,
SPEARHEAD EXHIBITIONS MEETINGS
March 16-19, 2004, Oceanology International 2004,
September 23-24, 2004, UUVS 2004: Sixth Unmanned Underwater
September 6-9, 2005, Offshore Europe 2005, Aberdeen
Exhibition & Conference Centre, Aberdeen,
Underwater Camera for sale.
Photosea 100O Underwater Stills Camera System complete with strobe lights. Advertised as being the finest professional underwater photographic equipment available, and takes 35mm film for prints or slides. The system has been pressure tested to operate at depths of 3000 metres. Purchased in 2001 it has not been in the water, as the programme that the system was intended has not proceeded.
SUBSEA, SUBMERSIBLE, ROV ELECTRIC MOTORS.
Please contact us at anytime to discuss your underwater vehicle requirements. We are always happy to exchange ideas and offer advice.