Russia’s Defence Ministry says new mini-sub can dive to 11,000 meters depth

Representatives of 13 so-called friendly countries were on site to observe the major search and rescue drills organized by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. (iStock)

It will be operated by GUGI, the notorious deep sea espionage and sabotage unit of the Russian military.

A group of dignitaries from the Russian Defence Ministry and shipbuilding industry on 27th of March assembled at the Admiralty Yard in St.Petersburg to lay the keel of a new special-purpose submarine.

The vessel will be only few meters long and have a hull of titanium. It will carry the name Sergei Bavilin, and will, according to sources associated with the Russian Defence Ministry, be able to dive to 11,000 meter depths.

It is not clear when construction is to due to be completed, but leader of the Admiralty Yard in a statement offers guarantees that “construction will proceed successfully.”

Vice-Admiral Burilichev will likely be mothership

The new submarine will have a mother ship that can carry it to far-away sites of operations. Most likely, the mother ship will be the Vice-Admiral Burilichev, a Yantar-class vessel currently under construction at the Vyborg Yard. The ship carries the name of the man that headed GUGI in the period 2005-2020. He reportedly died of the corona virus in November 2020.

GUGI is today headed by Vladimir Grishechkin, the former navy sailor and head of the Northern Fleet’s submarine forces.

«This is another glorious page in the history of domestic deep sea shipbuilding,» Grishechkin said in the ceremony.

“The deep-sea unit of which we today lay the keel will be unique in its class – only units of this class are capable of diving to significant depths for studies, development and execution of specific operations in the marine environment of the World Ocean,” the vice-admiral underlined.

The most important of GUGI’s special purpose subs, among them the Losharik, are based in Oleniya Guba, Kola Peninsula. The Sergei Bavilin and mother ship Vice-Admiral Burilichev are however most likely to be based in St.Peterburg.

Will participate in research, rescue operations and environmental monitoring among other operations

The submarine is designed by the Kurchatov Institute. According to Institute leader Mikhail Kovalchuk, the building of the Sergei Bavilin  is based on decades of experience.

“This significant event is possible only thanks to the formation over many years of comprehensive scientific work and we have managed to preserve this foundation […] Russia can achieve a lot and we rapidly move forward,” he said at the ceremony.

The Admiralty Yard in St.Petersburg has built a number of Russia’s mini-subs, among them the Rus, Konsul, Bester and Poisk-6.

According to the shipyard, the new  Sergei Bavilin will be the most advanced of its kind. It will not only be able to dive to extreme depths, but also conduct a series of complex underwater operations of importance for research, history, rescue operations and environmental monitoring.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada pledges billions for defence, falls short of NATO’s 2%, CBC News

Finland: Military exercise apparently disrupts weather images from Lapland, Yle News

IcelandIceland authorizes U.S. submarine service visits, Eye on the Arctic 

Norway: Against Russian aggression: Norway signs security agreement with Ukraine, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia signs MoU with Chinese navy, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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