November 12, 2015

The Igor Belousov (Игорь Белоусов); finished deep water tests, on to sea trials

Igor Belousov (Игорь Белоусов) Project 21300
Photo Credit -

The Igor Belousov / Игорь Белоусов, aka "Project 21300", just finished deep water testing with their divers operating in 100 meters (328 feet) of water, using pressurized diving bells and compression chambers, in multiple shifts, simulating rescue operations of a disabled submarine over a three day period which included oxy-acetylene cutting, hydraulic tools, compressed air, and rescue simulations with their rescue sub.  This is significant because it marks a return of the Russian Navy to truly deep water rescue capability - the first time in 25 years that they have been able to conduct sustained exercises at that depth, over multiple days.

What I find especially interesting is that Project 21300 is being constructed at the same St Petersburg shipyard as the RV Yantar (of previous blog posts).  You will notice that the same type of door is on the right side of the ship, allowing the manned submersible to dock with the decompression chambers in the bowels of the ship.  There is also a moon-pool allowing the diving bell to be lowered to the ocean's bottom, and for underwater operations to be covertly performed.  The diving bell also attaches to the same decompression chambers, allowing both manned vehicles to use the same decompression chamber.  You'll also notice the hull and profile of the ship are almost identical.

Pressurized Diving Bell
But the similarities don't end at their looks; both are equipped with remotely operated submersibles, and both are equipped with tow-behind side-scan sonar to detect items on the ocean's floor. I'm sure there are other similarities, but those are the ones that jump out at me.

At this moment the Igor Belousov is out on sea trials for a 36 day tour, and is supposed to be commissioned before the end of 2015.



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