Existing and proposed noncombatant manned undersea vehicles in Russia and Ukraine, both submersibles and submarines, are fundamental, straightforward, low cost, uncomplicated, reliable, and tested. Concepts that work well are retained; those that do not work well are corrected. Many of the existing submersibles are available for lease. Anyone contemplating lease of these vehicles should do so cautiously. The WTEC team only briefly examined the relationships between Russian Registry Certification, Lloyds of London, the American Bureau of Shipping, Det Norske Veritas, and U.S. Navy standards of certification. If contracts or insurance require any of these types of certification, one should check carefully before assuming that Russian certification is acceptable.

Some of the designers of manned systems in Russia and Ukraine are now moving slowly into autonomous systems. There does not appear to be an evolutionary transition from manned to ROV to AUV, as is the case in the United States. To date the desire to place man physically in situ persists in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Possible liability considerations and insurance costs have not yet driven their operators to seriously examine alternatives to use of manned vehicles.

The extensive use of titanium is very impressive. The use of the term "glass" mentioned during the WTEC team's visits at Lazurit and Krylov deserves further evaluation. Subsequent correspondence to WTEC from Malachite described these materials as "glass-reinforced plastic and acrylic plastic."

The optimistic view of the tourist submarine market at most design and fabrication activities as well as in operating groups needs to be questioned and resolved by conducting a thorough market analysis.

Greater computing capabilities and the introduction of such tools as computer aided design will enhance undersea vehicle efforts in the FSU. The horizons of scientists and engineers there have been limited and their perspectives conditioned by lack of computing tools.

The manned submersible potential in Russia and Ukraine is large. Academically, industrially, and operationally, the existing base is impressive. Opportunities for joint ventures are numerous.

Published: June 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian