OVERVIEW

Brad Mooney

BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION

The World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) is administered by Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland. In May 1993 and November 1995, WTEC organized and sent two small groups of experts to the former Soviet Union and to Western Europe to review and assess the state of submersibles and undersea technologies in these areas. Funding for the two projects was provided by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Office of Naval Research (ONR, U.S. Navy) and the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF).

The first expert team consisted of 10 persons; the second, eight, representing the key technical areas of undersea engineering. Government personnel representing appropriate agencies and the project sponsors constituted roughly one third of each team. The rest were from industry, academe, and the private sector. Duration of each of the trips was approximately two weeks.

While the intended focus of these visits was the state of deep submergence technologies in the former USSR, more than half the sites the teams visited were organizations that build marine equipment or are engaged in various other types of marine research. Therefore, the reader will note that several marine-related areas -- other than undersea vehicles -- are discussed in this report. This was also true of the first study trip, the results of which were published by WTEC in 1994 as WTEC Panel Report on Research Submersibles and Undersea Technologies.

The primary sites for the May 1993 study trip were to be in European Russia and the Ukraine. However, since team members would be passing through Western Europe, it was decided to visit selected organizations there as well. About a week was spent by some of the panel members visiting various facilities in the United Kingdom, France, and Finland. The European facility visits provided a useful background on undersea technologies prior to entering the former Soviet Union.

The actual time spent in Russia and in the Ukraine was only six days. Therefore, the expert panel was divided into teams of two or three people to make the actual site visits. In this way, 23 sites could be visited in Russia and 5 in the Ukraine. Complete details of this trip were reported at a workshop held in Washington, DC, in July 1993 and published in WTEC's 1994 report (cited above).

Clearly, this brief in-country period made it impossible to visit important facilities in Siberia and in the Russian Far East, even though the group was urged to do so. Understanding that additional site visits should be made in these areas to have a complete assessment, WTEC organized the second study trip for October 1995.

The expert panel for the second trip consisted of:

*These members also were on the first study trip.

The 1995 WTEC panel intended to survey the Russian Far East for marine-relevant technologies, to establish contacts with the Far East and the Siberian branches of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and to cultivate continuing relationships with the various institutes and organizations visited. They visited 12 institutes and 6 other sites in Vladivostok and at Akademgorodok, the "Academic City" near Novosibirsk in Siberia.

The Vladivostok sites were, for the most part, involved in undersea vehicles and ocean sciences. At Akademgorodok much less emphasis was placed on ocean problems, and the institutes visited represented a wider array of research efforts.

In December 1995 an open workshop was held at NSF in Washington, D.C., where panel members reported their findings from the second study trip. Also, specially invited representatives from some of the Russian sites visited were present to assist in answering questions asked by the attendees.

This report completes WTEC's publication of results from the second study trip and marks the completion of this two-part survey project. In summary, the two panels of experts have presented an assessment of important marine-related work in the former Soviet Union from the Black Sea to the shores of the Baltic and to the Pacific Ocean.

This publication, together with WTEC's 1994 report, offer a useful overview of the state of undersea technologies and ocean sciences in a part of the world now undergoing tremendous change. For some, this change means both risk and favorable future opportunity. Therefore, it is hoped that those interested in developing joint efforts in Russia and the Ukraine will find this WTEC work useful in helping to avoid uncertainty while locating promising opportunities for future cooperation and development.


Published: August 1996; WTEC Hyper-Librarian