Russian Navy

Losharik Bathyscaph Passed Trials in Arctic

Losharik Bathyscaph Passed Trials in Arctic 29.10.2012
Photo: Losharik's carrier, nuclear submarine BS-136.
Project 10831 deep-sea nuclear-powered system Kalitka also known as Losharik has passed trials in Arctic conditions taking part in underwater drilling works on the Mendeleev Shelf, the Arctic Ocean. According to Izvestiya referring to a source in defense ministry, the works were held under the Arktika-2012 expedition; the ship helped to correct drilling process.

Drilling operations were held by diesel-electric icebreakers Kapitan Dranitsyn and Dickson. The objective was to prove that the Mendeleev Ridge belongs to Russia; in prospect, this data would help to expand Russia's Arctic zone beyond 370 km mentioned in UN conventions. At present, similar zones are controlled by the US, Canada, Norway, and Denmark.

Over 500 kg of rock debris were lifted during the expedition. Survey results will be attached to Russia's application to the UN maritime law commission for expanding of Russian Arctic zone. Russia submitted such application before, but it was rejected because of insufficient rock samples. Enlargement of Russian zone in the Arctic would give Moscow advantage in the shelf resource development.

All works were held at the depth of 2.5-3 km throughout 20 days. Having nuclear reactor and unique titanium hull, Losharik can stay in deep waters longer than common bathyscaphs. The deep-sea station took soil samples by manipulators, dredge (rock cleaning system), telegrabber (grab bucket with telecamera), and hydrostatic tube.

Losharik's manipulators and exterior lighting system were damaged during the expedition. Technical maintenance of the deep-sea station will be performed by 42-th workshop of Sevmash shipyard. Except for minor repairs, the bathyscaph needs the hull to be smoothened. In addition, experts will check various systems and mechanisms like shafts and propellers.

Deep-sea station Losharik (AS-12) serves at Northern Fleet. It is capable to dive at the depth down to 6,000 meters. The hull consists of spherical compartments built under bathyscaph principle. They are located inside the outer hull. That is because the station is dubbed "Losharik", on the analogy of the known Soviet toy, a little horse made of balls.

The bathyscaph is carried by special-purpose nuclear submarine BS-136 Orenburg which is a completely redesigned Project 667BDR Calmar submarine with demounted ballistic missile tubes. Losharik is fixed to the carrier's bottom. The bathyscaph serves within Russian defense ministry's deep-sea research department and is subordinated directly to defense minister.

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