Russian Autonomous Uninhabited Underwater Vehicle Vityaz Takes Historic Dive

  • Vityaz complex consists of an autonomous uninhabited vehicle, a deep-water bottom station and control point equipment.
  • Vitiyaz conducted mapping, photo and video shooting of the bottom of the deepest point of the world's ocean for three hours.
  • Vityaz is expected to join Russian Pacific fleet.

The Russian autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicle Vityaz installed a historic pennant at the bottom of the Mariana Trench in honor of the 75th anniversary of the “Victory in the Great Patriotic War” (WWII).  The information was released by the press service of the Foundation for Advanced Research. The statement claimed this was the first time Vityaz sank to the bottom of the world’s deepest trench. The depth reached was recorded at 10,228 meters.

Russian autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicle Vityaz.

The Vityaz complex consists of an autonomous uninhabited vehicle, a deep-water bottom station and control point equipment.  It was designed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering. Rubin is based out of Saint Petersburg and it is one of the three main Russian centers of submarine design. The other two are Malakhit Marine Engineering Bureau and Lazurit Central Design Bureau.

However, Rubin is the largest among the three Soviet/Russian submarine designer centers, having designed more than two-thirds of all nuclear submarines in the Russian Navy. The ship’s equipment provides information exchange from the carrier vessel with the underwater vehicle and the bottom station in real time via a hydroacoustic channel.

Russian tug boat Fotiy Krylov.

Vityaz has no restrictions on the depth of the dive, and yesterday’s achievement was only the first for scientific research, said Andrey Grigoriev, General Director of the FPI. Vityaz is also  equipped with echo sounders, sonar navigation and communication tools, side-view sonar, external video cameras, lighting devices and special research equipment.

Taken together, it allows for bathymetric survey of the area at depths of up to 12 kilometers, sampling to study the structure of the upper layer of bottom soil, sonar survey of the bottom relief, and measurements of hydrophysical parameters of the marine environment.

It is reported that an underwater drone also conducted mapping, and photo and video shooting of the bottom of the deepest point of the world’s ocean for three hours. The dive on May 8 was made from the ship Fotiy Krylov, a massive ship that was built in Finland by order of the Soviet Union in 1989. The ship is named after a Soviet Admiral and was even included in the Guinness Book of records for the developed traction capacity of 291 tons.

The remotely operated underwater vehicle Kaiko.

Fotiy Krylov is a whole complex for working in difficult conditions. The equipment of the ocean rescuer allows you to carry out complex operations, including in the deep-sea. With a tug, you can extinguish fires on ships in distress. There is a helipad, an operating room, and hospital wards. Fotius Krylov can tow major oil tankers and bulk carriers even in an eight-point storm.

Russia plans to add Vityaz to the Pacific Fleet. Russia is focusing on robotics technology and Vityaz is one of them. The United States designed Nereus and Japan designed Kaiko.

Kaikō is a remotely operated underwater vehicle built by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology for exploration of the deep sea. Kaikō was the second of only five vessels ever to reach the bottom of the Challenger Deep, as of 2019. The world-class remotely operated vehicle Kaikō can dive down to depths of 7,000 meters. The ROV consists of two parts: launcher and vehicle.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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