Konstantin Getmansky Izvestia, June 17, 2002, p. 2

Russian Navy is buying modern rescue equipment.

Russian Navy has finally found $30 million for modern rescue equipment. By the end of the year all four Russian fleets will get unmanned deep-sea craft and diving suits good for the depths up to 1,000 meters.

The Northern Fleet has already received the equipment. Unmanned craft of the Tiger type is currently used in the salvage operation in the Barents Sea (the Navy is trying to lift fragments of the Kursk first compartment). The craft has manipulators and cameras; the Navy is using it to scout the area. TV picture is sent up to the monitors installed on the vessel Kil-130. The fleet also received two deep-water suits. Together with auxiliary and control equipment, they cost almost $2.5 million. Divers may descend to the depths of up to 1,000 meters in them. Similar equipment is supposed to be received by other fleets before the end of the year. In August, divers will be trained in the use of the gear at the 40th Research Institute of Rescue Operations and Emergencies, Diving, and Deep-Sea Work of the Defense Ministry near St. Petersburg.

The decision to find money for rescue equipment was made in the wake of the Kursk catastrophe. Our rescue teams could not reach the submarine then, and even in the autumn services of foreigners had to be enlisted. Two years later the Navy is buying the equipment that was used in the Kursk rescue operation. Russia does not have equipment like that.

“Deep-sea suits like that were designed in the Soviet Union once, but then the decision was made to make an emphasis on manned deep-sea craft,” says Lieutenant Colonel Stepan Skots, a participant of the Kursk rescue operation in November 2000.

Why are we buying the equipment two years after the tragedy? Nobody knows. Russian Navy is involved in consultations with NATO on joining the international system of submarine rescue. Actually, Russia will be able to join the system only when our designers start devising rescue equipment in line with NATO standards.