Underwater Drones for Russia

Underwater drones for Russia

Photo: RIA Novosti

The Defense Ministry plans to spend $24.5 million on eight underwater drones made by Icelandic firm Teledyne Gavia, according to an order posted on the ministry’s website.

Applications of so-called unmanned underwater vehicles include surveillance, clearing mines, and anti-submarine warfare. Teledyne Gavia, formerly known as Hafmynd ehf, has been developing underwater drones since 1997.

Russia has struggled in recent years to produce sophisticated aerial drones of its own, instead purchasing Israeli technology for its armed forces. Last month it was reported that the Defense Ministry had invested 5 billion rubles ($158 million) with state-owned holding Russian Helicopters to develop three new types of aerial drones that are expected to be completed by 2015.

“The U.S. Navy is moving along similar lines,” said Anatoly Shlemov, head of state defense contracts at the United Shipbuilding Corporation.

Although work on those systems began in the USSR in the late 1980s, this is the first time it has been officially announced. That was why the Soviet Navy abandoned the Piranha submarine program, Shlemov added. Project 865 Piranha (NATO reporting name Losos) is a midget submarine, designed for special operations and is almost completely silent.

Only two Piranha-class submarines were reportedly built.

Underwater robots have the following features which are needed for both naval fleets and civil organizations : can combat mine fields or any other underwater obstacles; can increase the detection range of submarines; can monitor and repair underwater objects and explore the relief of the seabed and water mass, without human intervention.
Russian deep-water submersibles “Rus” and “Consul” are valuable acquisitions. Consul has successfully passed a diving test at a depth of 6500 meters. According to experts and based on the design of its solid sphere, it is capable of diving even deeper.

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Andrew J. Blanche

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