Intershelf (Moscow/St. Petersburg)

J.P. Kenny Intershelf is a joint venture of Russia and the British firm J.P. Kenny. Intershelf has never built a submersible. However, the company has experience in designing and operating bottom crawlers, diver systems, and small ROVs. Intershelf now proposes to produce Sub Tour 10/100, a tourist submarine. This 10-person vehicle with 100 m depth capability is advertised by Intershelf as costing $900,000. Intershelf indicates it can deliver this submarine 18 months after a contract is signed. Sub Tour 10/100 would be built for Intershelf at Energia, a Russian institute normally involved in development and construction of manned space flight systems.

Kharax (St. Petersburg)

Kharax Company Ltd. is one of the first private companies in Russia focused on building a business around manned submersible technology. This entrepreneurial organization has a cadre of six talented, experienced, and innovative people. Another 180 technicians are employed on a jobshop basis.

To date Kharax has focused on a Leisure Submersible Apparatus (LAS), or tourist submarine. The LAS is designed to carry six persons and a crew of two to a depth of 300 m. Kharax is asking $750,000 for the submarine, including its launch and recovery system. Additionally, Kharax will provide operators, operations support, maintenance, logistics, and planning support for the submersible system.

A center for underwater tourism (CAT) is another concept that Kharax is exploring. CAT is basically a large ship with observation rooms that accommodate 40 people, an underwater restaurant and diving facilities on the lower level.

Kharax provides technical equipment for a variety of subsea expeditions. One of the first efforts for this new enterprise was the expedition to look for the lost Korean 747 airliner.

Krylov (St. Petersburg)

The Krylov Shipbuilding Research Institute is the principal shipbuilding research institute in Russia. It originally worked only for the Navy, but presently is focused on all disciplines of ship science. This facility performs research similar to that of the David Taylor Naval Research and Development Center in Carderock, Maryland.

The facilities for structural, pressure, and temperature testing at Krylov are extensive. Those related to manned submersibles include: a 1.4 km linear tow tank; a 3.2 m diameter pressure test tank that is 9.5 m deep, and capable of testing to 1,000 atmospheres; and a 1.8 m diameter pressure test tank that is 5.5 m deep, capable of testing to 1,500 atmospheres.

The engineers at Krylov displayed a 2.4 m diameter titanium sphere, certified for a 4,000 m depth by the Russian registry, for $1 million. Figure 4.2 is a picture of this sphere at Krylov. In addition, it has been reported that Krylov has been testing a composite (including glass reinforced plastic and acrylic plastic) hulls for use in tourist submarines. According to Malachite, this technology originated at the "Prometey Institute."

Lazurit (Nizhny Novgorod)

The Lazurit Central Design Bureau is one of three design bureaus in the FSU that designed military submarines. The other two are Malachite and RUBIN, both in St. Petersburg. Of the 30 manned submersibles operating in Russia, 24 were designed by Lazurit. About 11 models of manned submersibles and tourist submarines were on display at Lazurit (see Figures 4.3 and 4.4). Diagrams or drawings for another six to eight models were displayed along a conference room wall. The only one recognizable by the visiting WTEC team was the Poseidon deep submergence rescue vehicle. This is similar to the U.S. Navy's deep submergence rescue vehicles (DSRVs). Four Poseidons are in service.

Figure 4.2. Titanium Sphere Displayed at Krylov

Figure 4.3. CBD Director Kvasha with Manned Submersible Models

Figure 4.4. CBD Director Kvasha (right) with Tourist Submarine Models

As part of the Russian policy of defense conversion, Lazurit is trying to commercialize its capabilities. The bureau's focus is on an array of small research and work submersibles, and on tourist submarines utilizing various undersea technologies that are the expertise of Lazurit. The designs range from a one-person recreational submersible to a 130,000 ton nuclear-powered submarine container ship capable of carrying 1,000 standard 20-foot containers. Between these two ends of the spectrum are several proposed manned undersea vehicles of various sizes and capabilities.

Currently there appears to be considerable interest in the United States for a nuclear-powered oceanographic research submarine for use primarily in the Arctic. Lazurit proposes a built-for-this-purpose submarine named Ocean Shuttle.

Of the six to eight tourist submarines proposed by Lazurit, the one that has generated the most interest was a glass-hulled submarine. The term "glass" was originally described to the WTEC team as "composite organic and silicon glass," material reportedly developed in cooperation with Krylov.

The innovative concept of a submarine lifeboat, to be used as an escape mechanism from a properly designed offshore oil platform, was discussed. Personnel could escape from an endangered platform down through the inside of a hollow platform leg to the submarine, which would be mated to the leg.

Lazurit is involved in several concepts related to projects proposed by ROSSHELF. ROSSHELF proposes to build a complete oil and gas production complex on the sea floor in the Russian Arctic beneath the largest icebergs in the area. Lazurit has been designated as the leading organization within ROSSHELF regarding the development of underwater oil and gas production complexes.

The bureau's proposed submarines and submersibles are described in greater detail in the Lazurit site visit report, which is included in Appendix B.

Malachite (St. Petersburg)

Malachite Marine Engineering Bureau is one of the leading Russian firms in underwater shipbuilding. Malachite built the first Soviet nuclear submarine. Malachite's experience in small submersibles is limited to Thetis, a towed manned submersible. Thetis is designed so that the operator can steer the submersible, to a degree, to the right and left or up and down to best observe the trawl nets of fishermen. There are several versions of the Thetis (sometimes spelled "Tetis") towed manned submersibles. The Thetis H, operated by Mariecoprom, weighs 3 tons, has a length of 3.3 m, operating depth when towed of 300 m, and a submerged speed of 2 to 6 kt for 6 hours. Thetis H carries two people and has a positive reserve buoyancy of 50 kg. In addition to assisting trawling fishermen, Thetis class vehicles have been used to estimate fish stock within the water column of a given region of the world, for underwater filming and observation of underwater structures, and for underwater transmission of video observations to a surface station. The occupants can communicate with its support and towing ship by radio and telephone. Thetis vehicles are equipped with several viewports (depending on the model) and an automatic flash camera system.

Malachite has also been active in a closely related underwater intervention field, a man-in-the sea effort. The bureau's research has included the design of the Benthos-300 vehicle, which can dive to 300 m and accommodate up to 12 scientists and crew. Special equipment built by Malachite for Benthos-300 facilitates long-duration tests on animals aimed at medical issues associated with possible future underwater habitats.

RUS, a 6,000 m submersible, is being built by Malachite for the Ministry of Geology. RUS will use silver zinc batteries, Russian manufactured syntactic foam, and a welded titanium hull. Malachite has considerable experience in welding thick titanium.

Two test tanks are available at another facility with which Malachite has close contacts. The smaller 2.2 m diameter tank has a depth capability of 6 km. The larger 2.9 m diameter tank has a depth capability of 4 km.

In addition, Malachite proposes to design a submersible oil tanker that could transport oil under Arctic ice from North America to Asia. The bureau is also interested in designing various types of tourist submarines. The North 2, a 2,000 m submarine, was designed by Malachite. The status of North 2 was not determined during the whirlwind visit to Malachite. Literature for several undersea vehicle projects proposed by Malachite are listed in the Bibliography section of the Malachite site report (Appendix B).

RUBIN (St. Petersburg)

The Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (RUBIN) specializes in submarines and other underwater technologies. Several years ago, RUBIN was a secret institute that could not be mentioned openly. The Typhoon, Oscar, and Komsomolets submarines were designed there. Because of recent conversion efforts, approximately 40 percent of the work is presently defense related, with major thrusts in the past several years concentrating on high-speed train development, nonmilitary submarines, and tourist submersibles.

The bureau designed and built Neptun, the only Russian tourist submersible now in service, which began operations in 1993 at the island of Antigua in the Caribbean.

Mariecoprom (Sevastopol)

The Mariecoprom Scientific Industrial Association, located in Sevastopol, is the operating arm of the Ukrainian Academy of Science. It operates ten submersibles and nine support ships, most of which are converted fishing vessels varying in size from 1,200 tons to 4,000 tons. These vessels conduct oceanographic and geophysical research worldwide. The current undersea interests of Mariecoprom are centered in the Ukrainian portions of the Black Sea. Mariecoprom does not operate unmanned vehicles. The staff at the association strongly believe that the best science is accomplished in situ by knowledgeable and trained scientists. The submersibles operated by Mariecoprom vary in size and capability from the very large twelve-person Benthos-300 to the small, towed, three-person Tetis-H. Mariecoprom is able to provide qualified operating crews at very low daily rates. Mariecoprom does not conduct research and development directly, but operates and maintains support ships and submersibles for the Ukrainian government and its Academy of Science institutes. (The submersible support ships operated by Mariecoprom are described in Chapter 7.) The submersibles operated by Mariecoprom are: Sever-2, Sever-2 Bis, Benthos-300, Omar, Langust, Tinro-2, Tetis-H, and Rif. (See Figures 4.5 through 4.10 and Tables 4.3 through 4.14.)

Table 4.3
Sever-2 and Sever-2 Bis Tactical Characteristics and Specifications

Figure 4.5. Submersible Sever-2

Table 4.4
Sever-2 and Sever-2 Bis Operating Capabilities

Table 4.5
Tinro-2 Tactical Characteristics and Specifications

Figure 4.6. Submersible Tinro-2

Table 4.6
Tinro-2 Operating Capabilities

Table 4.7
Benthos-300 (Nos. 1 and 2) Tactical Characteristics and Specifications

Figure 4.7. Submersible Benthos-300

Table 4.8
Benthos-300 (Nos. 1 & 2) Operational Capabilities

Table 4.9
Tetis-H Tactical Characteristics and Specifications

Figure 4.8. Towed Submersible Tetis-H

Table 4.10
Tetis-H Operating Capabilities

Table 4.11
Omar and Langust Tactical Characteristics and Specifications

Table 4.12
Omar and Langust Operating Capabilities

Figure 4.9. Submersible Langust

Table 4.13
Rif Tactical Characteristics and Specifications

Table 4.14
Rif Operating Capabilities

Figure 4.10. Submersible Rif

P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology (Moscow) The P.P. Shirshov Institute is part of the Russian Academy of Science. Divisions of Shirshov are in St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad (Baltic Base), Ghelendzhik (Black Sea Base), and Moscow (headquarters). The institute operates ten research ships. Six are oceanographic research ships and two are submersible support ships. Shirshov has six submersibles. Two Mir class steel hulled, 6,000 m depth capable submersibles were built in Finland by Rauma-Ripola Corporation. Two Pisces class 2,000 m depth capable submersibles were built in Canada by HYCO Ltd. The Argus 600 m depth capable submersible operates primarily in the Black Sea. Osmotr, with a 300 m depth capability, is located in Ghelendzhik on the Black Sea and is for sale.

Experimental Design Bureau of Oceanological Engineering (Moscow)

The Bureau of Oceanological Engineering is a spin-off of the P.P. Shirshov Institute. The people who now direct this bureau designed and built the Argus 600 and Osmotr when they were part of Shirshov. This bureau now is building two Rift class 4,000 m submersibles that are 85 percent complete. The institute, which is seeking $2 million in Western hard currency to complete the two submersibles, has also indicated that it would give the funding source one of the submersibles. Table 4.15 describes the Rift submersibles. Figures 4.11 and 4.12 are pictures of the incomplete Rift submersibles. The Experimental Design Bureau of Oceanological Engineering and Rift Co., Ltd. have developed two designs for tourist submarines, Angara TS 6/600 and TS 20/100, which cost $400,000 and $850,000 respectively. (See Table 4.16.)

Figure 4.11. Rift Submersible (1)

Table 4.15
DSV Rift

(Two Being Built Simultaneously)

Figure 4.12. Rift Submersible (2)

Table 4.16
Tourist Subs by Rift Co., Ltd.

Published: June 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian