Why did the Russian Ministry of Defense need an over-deep bathyscaphe?
The Russian Ministry of Defense ordered a bathyscaphe for work in the Mariana Trench. Construction will be carried out by the Admiralty Shipyards. This was announced on December 11 by the head of the enterprise Alexander Buzakov.
– We will build the apparatus as a whole, – the head of the shipyard added.
Speaking about the timing of the creation of the bathyscaphe, Buzakov noted that it all depends on how soon the construction contract is signed. According to him, while there is a stage of design and development work.
Note that there has been a long talk about the bathyscaphe for exploring the Mariana Trench. In June, the head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, Alexei Rakhmanov, spoke about plans to make such a bathyscaphe habitable.
Finally, in the summer of 2017, the Advanced Research Foundation (FPI) announced that the design of a prototype deep-sea autonomous bathyscaphe robot together with the Rubin Design and Design Bureau began. The device will be able to dive to extreme depths, working in standalone mode, and will be equipped with modern video and sonar systems.
It should be noted here that Russian military deep-sea vehicles are traditionally run by the Main Directorate for Deep-Water Research (GUGI), one of the most classified in the structure of the Ministry of Defense. It is unofficially known that the control tasks include wiretapping international submarine communication cables, which is especially alarming for NATO.
GUGI, for example, owns Yantar, the lead ship of Project 22010 Kruys, which in the West is referred to as the “Internet killer”. On board are the deep-sea vehicles Rus and Consul.
“Rus” for a long time held the record for immersion among Russian devices – 6180 meters. The device is equipped with a manipulator, it is able to inspect underwater structures and objects, deliver to the ground or raise objects weighing up to 200 kg to the surface. Its modification – “Consul” – on May 14, 2011 was able to sink to a depth of 6270 m.
Another “advanced” device of the State Institute of State Administration is the deep-water nuclear power plant of project 10831 AS-31 (according to other information from AS-12) “Losharik”. On July 1, 2019, a fire broke out on board, 14 submariners died. The device is able to detect and break off underwater communication and control cables in the ocean. Another important purpose of Losharik is the secretive removal of classified information from fiber optic submarine cables of foreign countries.
The carrier for “Losharik” is the submarine “Podmoskovye”. Operators located in special submarine compartments can use several types of deep-sea vehicles to perform tasks. These are both the “light” submarine reconnaissance “Klavesin” and “Klavesin-2R-PM”, as well as specialized deep-sea atomic stations of the 1910 “Kashalot”, 1851 “Paltus” and the same 10831 “Losharik” projects.
Now the GUGI is going to “dive” deeper – following our “sworn friends”. In the United States, for example, the uninhabited Nereus robotic submarine, built in 2008, reached the Mariana Trench in 2009. True, in 2014, the submarine crashed at a depth of 10 km in the Karmadek trench, northeast of the coast of New Zealand.
Celestial comes on the heels. In 2017, the China Shipbuilding Corporation announced that it had begun developing a manned deep-sea vehicle that would be able to sink to the bottom of almost any ocean trough. Bathyscaphe should be created by 2021. After that, China intends to start producing a series of deep-sea vehicles, which, according to the official version, are intended for the development of mineral deposits.
And the question arises: why did GUGI strive for the Mariana Trench, where only four have visited in the entire history of mankind – the American oceanographer Don Walsh and the Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard (1960), the American director James Cameron (2012), and the founder of the American company Insight Equity Victor Veskovo (2019)?
What do our military need at the bottom of the world?
- The main task of deep-sea vehicles, including the projected bathyscaphe, is sonar research, – said the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, doctor of military sciences, captain 1st rank Konstantin Sivkov.
- The study of underwater currents, and not only in the bottom layers, but throughout the section. This allows us to solve the problem of predicting the state of the underwater environment, and to determine the estimated detection range of sonar stations of surface ships and submarines.
Another task is the hidden detection and study of military facilities located at the bottom. For the purpose, of course, the destruction of such objects, if necessary.
– Why is the bathyscaphe designed specifically for the Mariana Trench?
– The Mariana Trench stretches along the Mariana Islands in the Pacific Ocean for 1,500 km. It has a V-shaped profile, steep slopes and a flat bottom 1-5 km wide, which is divided by rapids. At the bottom, the water pressure reaches 108.6 MPa, which is more than 1100 times higher than normal atmospheric pressure at sea level.
The main thing is that the hollow is located at the junction of two tectonic plates, in the zone of movement along the faults, where the Pacific plate goes under the Philippine plate.
The priority for the bathyscaphe is likely to be the study of this joint. To then – in perspective – use the structural features of the bottom of the Mariana Trench for military purposes.
– In the field of deep-sea vehicles, are we equal with America?
– Russia has received such a powerful backlog from the Soviet Union that it is still a leader in this area. There simply cannot be two opinions.
– Information about military deep-sea vehicles is extremely classified in both Russia and the USA, – says Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis. – Therefore, one can only speculate about the true purpose of the bathyscaphe for the Mariana Trench.
First of all, at extreme depths you can place underwater military stations. Which will be almost impossible to get to. Or you can put a nuclear charge at the bottom – say, at 100 megatons.
Let me remind you that on October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union tested the AN602 product with a capacity of just 100 megatons. This thermonuclear bomb was called differently – “Tsar bomb”, “Kuzkina mother”, “Product B” or simply “Ivan”. The power of the tested bomb was almost halved. This was done, as the developers calculated the catastrophic consequences of the explosion.
In a word, with the Mariana Trench a lot of things can be assumed – but, I repeat, from the field of fortune telling.
– If we talk about a nuclear charge at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, can they crack a fault between tectonic plates? Provoke a tsunami that sweeps the US coast – or is it from the realm of fiction?
- In principle, anything is possible. Another question, as a result, you can run into the end of the world. Destroy not only America, but also itself. Whether this is necessary is an open question.