Deep-submergence vehicle

A deep-submergence vehicle (DSV) is a deep-diving manned submarine that is self-propelled. Several navies operate vehicles that can be accurately described as DSVs. DSVs are commonly divided into two types: research DSVs, which are used for exploration and surveying, and DSRVs (Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle), which can be used for rescuing the crew of a sunken navy submarine, clandestine (espionage) missions (primarily installing wiretaps on undersea cables), or both. DSRVs are equipped with docking chambers to allow personnel ingress and egress via a manhole.

The real-life feasibility of any DSRV-based rescue attempt is hotly debated, because the few available docking chambers of a stricken submarine may be flooded, trapping the sailors still alive in other dry compartments. The only attempt to rescue a stricken submarine with these so far (the Russian submarine Kursk) ended in failure as the entire crew who survived the explosion had either suffocated or burned to death before the rescuers could get there. Because of these difficulties, the use of integrated crew escape capsules, detachable conning towers, or both have gained favour in military submarine design during the last two decades. DSRVs that remain in use are primarily relegated to clandestine missions and undersea military equipment maintenance. The rapid development of safe, cost-saving ROV technology has also rendered some DSVs obsolete.

Strictly speaking, bathyscaphes are not submarines because they have minimal mobility and are built like a balloon, using a habitable spherical pressure vessel hung under a liquid hydrocarbon filled float drum. In a DSV/DSRV, the passenger compartment and the ballast tank functionality is incorporated into a single structure to afford more habitable space (up to 24 people in the case of a DSRV).

Most DSV/DSRV vehicles are powered by traditional electric battery propulsion and have very limited endurance. Plans have been made to equip DSVs with LOX Stirling engines but none have been realized so far due to cost and maintenance considerations. All DSVs are dependent upon a surface support ship or a mother submarine, that can piggyback or tow them (in case of the NR-1) to the scene of operations. Some DSRV vessels are air transportable in very large military cargo planes to speed up deployment in case of emergency rescue missions.

Worldwide deep submergence vehicles (as of May 7, 2019)
Bathyscaphe Trieste hoisted
In 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh were the first people to explore the deepest part of the world's ocean, and the deepest location on the surface of the Earth's crust, in the bathyscaphe Trieste designed by Auguste Piccard.

List of deep submergence vehicles

Trieste class bathyscaphe

  • FNRS-2 – the predecessor to Trieste
  • FNRS-3 – contemporary of Trieste I
  • DSV-0 Trieste – the X-1 Trieste bathyscaphe has reached Challenger Deep, the world's deepest seabed. It was retired in 1966.[1]
  • DSV-1 X-2 Trieste II – an updated bathyscaphe design, participated in clandestine missions, it was retired in 1984.[2][3]

Alvin class submarine

Alvin, owned by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is operated under agreement by the National Deep Submergence Facility at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), where it conducts science oriented missions funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and ONR. Alvin has a maximum depth capability of 4,500 metres (2.8 mi) and operates from R/V Atlantis, an AGOR-23 class vessel owned by the ONR and operated by WHOI under a charter party agreement. The NSF has committed to the construction of a replacement sub with enhanced capabilities and 6,500-metre (4.0 mi) depth capability to replace Alvin, which will be retired upon its completion.

  • DSV-2 Alvin – a deep diving sub, has a 4,500-metre (2.8 mi) depth capability, WHOI.[4]
  • DSV-3 Turtle – Alvin's identical sibling, retired 1998, USN.[5]
  • DSV-4 Sea Cliff – another Alvin class DSV sub, retired 1998, returned to active service on September 30, 2002, Sea Cliff has 6,000-metre (3.7 mi) depth capability, USN.[6]
  • DSV-5 Nemo – another Alvin class DSV sub, retired 1998, USN.[7]

Nerwin class DSVN

  • NR-1 Nerwin – , a decommissioned US Navy nuclear powered research and clandestine DSV submarine, which could roll on the seabed using large balloon wheels.[8]


  • Aluminaut – a DSV made completely of aluminum by the Reynolds Metals Aluminum Company, for the US Navy, once held the submarine deep diving record.[9] It is no longer operational.

Deepsea Challenger

Limiting Factor

  • DSV Limiting Factor - a submersible commissioned to be built by Caladan Oceanic and designed and built by Triton Submarines of Sebastian, Florida. On December 19th, 2018 it was the first manned submersible to reach the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, or 8,376 meters in the Brownson Deep, thus making it the deepest diving, currently operational submersible.[10] As of early 2019, the submersible was continuing its "Five Deeps Expedition" mission onboard its support ship, the DSSV Pressure Drop, to visit the bottom of all five of the world's oceans by the end of the year.


  • Priz – a DSRV class of five ships built by the USSR and Russia. The titanium-hulled Priz class are capable of diving to 1,000 metres (0.62 mi). These mini-submarines can ferry up to 20 people for very brief periods of time (in case of a rescue mission) or operate submerged for two to three days with a regular crew of three to four specialists. In early 2005, the Russian AS-28 Priz vessel was trapped undersea and subsequently freed by a British ROV in a successful international rescue effort.


  • Mir – a strictly civilian (research) class of two DSVs which were manufactured in Finland for the USSR. These bathyscaphe-derived vessels can carry three people down to depths of 6,000 metres (3.7 mi). After visiting and filming the RMS Titanic's wreck, two Mir submersibles and their support ship were loaned to a US Pacific trench surveying mission in the late 1990s and made important discoveries concerning sulphuric based life in "black smokers".

Kalitka-class DSVN

  • AS-12 – a Russian counterpart to the American NR-1 clandestine nuclear DSV, is a relatively large, deep-diving nuclear submarine of 2,000 tons submerged displacement that is intended for oceanographic research and clandestine missions. It has a titanium pressure hull consisting of several conjoined spheres and able to withstand tremendous pressure — during the 2012 research mission it routinely dove to 2,500 to 3,000 metres (1.6 to 1.9 mi),[11][12] with maximum depth being said to be approximately 6,000 metres (3.7 mi). Despite the three-month mission time allowed by its nuclear reactor and ample food stores it usually operates in conjunction with a specialized tender, a refurbished Delta III-class submarine BS-136 Orenburg, which has its missile shafts removed and fitted with a special docking cradle on its bottom.


  • Konsul – a new class of Russian military DSVs, currently undergoing final acceptance trials before the official commissioning into the Navy.[13] They are somewhat smaller than the Mirs, accommodating a crew of two instead of three, but are purely domestically produced vessels and have a higher maximum depth due to their titanium pressure hulls: during the tests the original Konsul dove to 6,270 metres (3.90 mi).[14]


  • Nautile – a DSV owned by Ifremer, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea. The titanium-hulled Nautile is capable of diving to 6,000 metres (3.7 mi).


  • DSV Shinkai – JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) operates a DSV-series called Shinkai ("Deep Sea"). The latest DSV is Shinkai 6500 which can submerge to 6,500 metres (4.0 mi) with three crew members. JAMSTEC was operating a ROV called Kaikō, which was able to submerge to 11,000 metres (6.8 mi), but was lost at sea in May 2003.[15]

Pisces class DSV

Pisces class DSVs are three person research submersibles built by International Hydrodynamics of Vancouver in British Columbia with a maximum operating depth of 2,000 metres (1.2 mi) capable of dive durations of 7 to 10 hours. A total of 10 were built and are representative of late 1960s deep-ocean submersible design. Two (Pisces IV and V) are currently operated by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the first production vehicle is on display in Vancouver. Pisces VI is undergoing retrofit.

Sea Pole class bathyscaphe

Bathyscaphe series designed by the People's Republic of China, and there are three derivatives known to exist by 2010:

Shenhai Yongshi DSV

Shenhai YongshiDSV built in China and can dive to 4500m.

Ictineu 3

  • Ictineu 3 – a three-men manned DSV. The hull is made of inox steel and it has a large 1,200-millimetre-diameter (47 in) semi-spheric acrylic glass viewport. It is designed to reach depths of 1,200 metres (3,900 ft), thus being the ninth-deepest submersible, and it is capable of diving during 10 hours using li-ion batteries.[16]

other DSV bathyscaphes

Deepest explorers

  1. United States DSV Limiting Factor – 11,000 m[17]
  2. United States Bathyscaphe Trieste – 11,000 m[18]
  3. Australia Deepsea Challenger – 11,000 m[19]
  4. France Archimède – 9,500 m
  5. China Jiaolong – 7,500 m
  6. Japan DSV Shinkai 6500 – 6,500 m
  7. Russia Konsul – 6,500 m
  8. United States DSV Sea Cliff – 6,000m[20]
  9. Russia MIR – 6,000 m
  10. France Nautile – 6,000 m
  • Figures rounded to nearest 500 metres


  1. ^ "Trieste". Archived from the original on 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  2. ^ "Trieste II". Archived from the original on 2004-03-08. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  3. ^ "No Name (DSV 1)". 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  4. ^ "No Name (DSV 2)". 1990-10-25. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  5. ^ "No Name (DSV 3)". Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  6. ^ "No Name (DSV 4)". Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  7. ^ "No Name (DSV 5)". Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  8. ^ "NR 1 Deep Submergence Craft". Archived from the original on October 18, 2004.
  9. ^ "Reynolds Aluminaut". Archived from the original on October 12, 2004.
  10. ^ Dean 2018-12-21T17:15:00-05:00, Josh. "An inside look at the first solo trip to the deepest point of the Atlantic". Popular Science. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  11. ^ "Ледовый поход Лошарика" [The Losharik Ice Tour] (in Russian). 29 October 2012.
  12. ^ Alexei Mikhailov; Vladimir Boloshin (29 October 2012). "Военный атомный батискаф «Лошарик» испытали в Арктике" [Military atomic bathyscaphe "Losharik" tested in the Arctic]. Izvestia (in Russian).
  13. ^ ""Консул" испытан – ВПК.name" ["Consul" is tested] (in Russian). 22 June 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  14. ^ "Submersible Consul tested: Voice of Russia". :. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2012-03-27.
  15. ^ "Robot sub reaches deepest ocean". BBC News, 3 June 2009.
  16. ^ Soro, Selena (11 May 2015). "LIctineu 3' lluita per sobreviure" [The Ictineu 3 fight to survive] (in Catalan). Ara. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Deepest Ever Submarine Dive Made by Five Deeps Expedition". The Maritime Executive. 2019-05-14. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  18. ^ "DEEPSEA CHALLENGER Versus Trieste". 17 February 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  19. ^ Amos, Jonathan (7 December 2011). "Oceans' deepest depth re-measured".
  20. ^ "Vessel Returns to Point Loma : Navy Vehicle Takes a Plunge to a Record Depth". Los Angeles Times. 1985-03-30. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2019-06-27.

External links


Aluminaut (built in 1964) was the world's first aluminium submarine. An experimental vessel, the 80-ton, 15.5-metre (51 ft) manned deep-ocean research submersible was built by Reynolds Metals Company, which was seeking to promote the utility of aluminium. Aluminaut was based in Miami, Florida, and was operated from 1964 to 1970 by Reynolds Submarine Services, doing contract work for the U.S. Navy and other organizations, including marine biologist Jacques Cousteau.

Aluminaut is best known for helping recover a lost unarmed U.S. atomic bomb in 1966 and recovering its smaller fellow deep-submergence vehicle, DSV Alvin in 1969, after Alvin had been lost and sank in the Atlantic Ocean the previous year. After retirement, Aluminaut was donated to the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, where it is on permanent display.


Alvin may refer to:

Alvin (given name)In places:

Alvin, British Columbia, Canada

Alvin, Colorado

Alvin, Georgia

Alvin, Illinois

Alvin, Michigan

Alvin, Texas

Alvin, Wisconsin, a town

Alvin (community), Wisconsin, an unincorporated communityIn other uses:

Alvin (crater), a crater on Mars

Alvin (horse), a Canadian Standardbred racehorse

13677 Alvin, an asteroid

DSV Alvin, a deep-submergence vehicle

Alvin, a fictional planet on ALF (TV series)

Alvin Seville, of the fictional animated characters Alvin and the Chipmunks

"Alvin", by James from the album Girl at the End of the World

Tropical Storm Alvin


Archimede is the French and Italian form of Archimedes. It may also refer to:

a deep submergence vehicle (bathyscaphe) of the French Navy, see Archimède

a submarine class of Italian Navy from the 1930s, see Archimede-class submarine

Italian submarine Archimede (1933)

Italian submarine Archimede (1939)

solar thermal field in Sicily, Italy, see Archimede combined cycle power plant

a German watch brand, see Archimede (watches)

Bathyscaphe Trieste

Trieste is a Swiss-designed, Italian-built deep-diving research bathyscaphe, which with its crew of two reached a record maximum depth of about 10,911 metres (35,797 ft), in the deepest known part of the Earth's oceans, the Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench near Guam in the Pacific. On 23 January 1960, Jacques Piccard (son of the boat's designer Auguste Piccard) and US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh achieved the goal of Project Nekton.

Trieste was the first manned vessel to have reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep.

Bathyscaphe Trieste II

Trieste II (DSV-1) was the successor to Trieste—the United States Navy's first bathyscaphe purchased from its Swiss designers. The original Trieste design was heavily modified by the Naval Electronics Laboratory in San Diego, California and built at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Trieste II incorporated the original Terni, Italian-built sphere used in Trieste, after it was made redundant by the new high-pressure sphere cast by the German Krupp Steelworks. The Trieste sphere was suspended from an entirely new float, more seaworthy and streamlined than the original but operating on identical principles. Completed in early 1964, Trieste II was placed on board USNS Francis X. McGraw (T-AK241) and shipped, via the Panama Canal, to Boston.

Commanded by Lt Comdr. John B. Mooney Jr., with co-pilot Lt. John H. Howland and Capt. Frank Andrews, Trieste II conducted dives in the vicinity of the loss site of Thresher—operations commenced by the first Trieste the year before. She recovered bits of wreckage, positively fixing the remains as that of the lost Thresher, in September 1964.

Between September 1965 and May 1966, Trieste II again underwent extensive modification and conversion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, but there is no clear record that she was ever operated in that new configuration, i.e., the addition of skegs or outriggers on both sides of the sphere.

During that same time period work was under way on a third configuration of the bathyscaphe. This work resulted in yet a new appearance for the Trieste II, and included the installation of a new pressure sphere, designed for operation to 20,000 feet (6,100 m).

As the bathyscaphe continued her operations as test vehicle for the deep submergence program, she qualified four officers as "hydronauts"—the beginning of a burgeoning oceanographic operation. Trieste II's valuable experience in deep submergence operations has helped in the design and construction of other deep-diving submersibles which could be used in rescuing crews and recovering objects from submarines in distress below levels reachable by conventional methods.

This unique craft was listed only as "equipment" in the Navy inventory until the autumn of 1969. On 1 September 1969, Trieste II was placed in service, with the hull number X-1. She was reclassified as a deep submergence vehicle (DSV) on 1 June 1971.

On 25 April 1972, Trieste II recovered a satellite package called a "bucket" weighing several hundred pounds from a depth of greater than 16,000 feet (4,900 m), a record at the time. Trieste II (DSV-1) continued her active service in the Pacific Fleet into 1980.

The Trieste class DSV were replaced by the Alvin class DSV, as exemplified by the famous Alvin (DSV-2). The Alvins are more capable, more maneuverable, less fragile, but also can not dive as deep, reaching only a maximum of 20,000 feet (for the Sea Cliff (DSV-4)).

Trieste II is now preserved as a museum ship at the Naval Undersea Museum, Keyport, Washington.

Chinese oceanographic research ship Zhang Jian

Chinese oceanographic research ship Zhang Jian is a Chinese research ship designed by Shanghai Ocean University and built by the civilian owned Zhejiang TianShi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (浙江天时造船有限公司) in Wenling, instead of government-owned enterprise, as in most cases of the ships in Chinese service.Chinese research ship Zhang Jian is the newest research ship in China (as of 2015), and it is designed to have an endurance of 60 days before needing resupply. The ship is designed to be a multifunction ship capable of carrying out various missions that previously had to be performed by separate ships. The ship primarily functions as an oceanographic research ship, buyt it can also act as a dive tender, a salvage ship, a rescue ship, a tourist ship, and a mother ship for a deep-submergence vehicle. The ship will be used as a mother ship for a Rainbowfish class bathyscaphe.

The ship also carries other equipment for deep sea exploration, including an UUV and three benthic landers. Designed by the Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA, 沈阳自动化研究所) of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the three benthic landers were originally to be capable of operating at the depth of 11000 meters. To avoid delays, this goal was modified with reduced requirements for the first benthic lander, which would use foreign components purchased abroad and have a maximum operational depth of 7000 meters. The 11000 meter operational depth of the original specification will be met by the second and third units. These will use completely indigenous components; development was to be completed in 2015. The first benthic lander begun sea trials in October 2014.

DSV Sea Cliff

DSV-4 (formerly known as Sea Cliff) is a 25-ton, manned deep-ocean research submersible owned by the United States Navy, now known only by its hull number, not by its former name.

DSV-4 is an Alvin-class deep submergence vehicle (DSV), a sister ship to Turtle (DSV-3), Alvin (DSV-2). The Alvin-class DSVs were designed to replace older DSVs, such as the less-maneuverable Trieste-class bathyscaphes. DSV-4 originally had a maximum dive depth of 6,500 feet (2,000 m), as all Alvin-class DSVs did at first. It was redesigned to dive to 20,000 feet (6,100 m) and refitted in 1984. With the refit of DSV-4, the bathyscaphe DSV-1 (formerly known as Trieste II) was retired from service.

In 1985 the Sea Cliff made a record dive for this vessel type by diving 20,000 feet off Guatemala's Pacific Coast. The crew of the dive consisted of pilot Lt. Alan Mason and co-pilot Chief Petty Officer David Atchinson.

DSV-4 has a plug hatch 2 feet (0.61 m) in diameter, held in place mechanically with hatch dogs and, while submerged, by the pressure of the water above it. DSV-4 can dive 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) deeper than the famed Alvin; however, the Super Alvin-class replacement for DSV-2 is designed to dive to 22,000 feet (6,705 meters).Sea Cliff was retired from active service in 1998 and subsequently given to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The Naval Vessel Register shows DSV-4 was returned to active U.S Navy service on 30 September 2002 in the custody of WHOI, but an article in The New York Times indicates that it was cannibalized for parts for Alvin.

DSV Turtle

Turtle (DSV-3) is a 16-ton, manned deep-ocean research submersible owned by the United States Navy. It is sister to Alvin (DSV-2), and also an Alvin class Deep Submergence Vehicle. The Turtle was retired from active service in 1998. It now resides at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut

The Turtle was designed to dive to 6000 feet. When DSV-2 Alvin installed a new titanium hull, the Alvin steel hull was installed in the Turtle. The Turtle depth rating was then increased to 10,000 feet. It has a hull 2 inches thick, and a hatch about 3-1/2 inches thick held in place by the pressure of the water above it (it is tapered, narrower inward). The Alvin-class DSV's were designed to replace older DSV, such as the less maneuverable Trieste-class bathyscaphes.

Deep-submergence rescue vehicle

A deep-submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) is a type of deep-submergence vehicle used for rescue of downed submarines and clandestine missions. While DSRV is the term most often used by the United States Navy, other nations have different designations for their vehicles.

DeepFlight Challenger

DeepFlight Challenger is a one-person personal submarine deep submergence vehicle with full ocean depth capability. It is an "aero-submarine" which uses hydrodynamic forces to descend, as the sub has positive buoyancy, utilizing DeepFlight technology from Hawkes Ocean Technologies. The submarine is currently owned by Virgin Oceanic.

Deep Star 4000

Deepstar 4000 was a US Navy/Civilian Deep Submergence Vehicle designed by Jacques Cousteau and built by Westinghouse. It was built in 1965 and retired in 1972. On one Deep Star 4000 dive south of San Diego, California, the crew, Dr. Eugene C. La Fond and pilot, narrowly escaped tragedy when the ascent system and its backup failed at 3,500 feet down. The weights normally meant to detach to allow ascent would not release. To save the craft, hundreds of pounds of mercury ballast used for trim was hand pumped onto the ocean floor and the craft could rise. Some of the explorations of Deepstar 4000 were shown in the January 1971 edition of National Geographic. At the time of the article, Deepstar 4000 had already completed more than 200 dives in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean. This number of completed dives appears to be understated. In R. Frank Busby's book "Manned Submersibles" , it is stated on page 53 that the Deepstar 4000 "conducted some 500 dives from June 1966 through June 1968".


The FNRS-2 was the first bathyscaphe. It was created by Auguste Piccard. Work started in 1937 but was interrupted by World War II. The deep-diving submarine was finished in 1948. The bathyscaphe was named after the Belgian Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS), the funding organization for the venture. FNRS also funded the FNRS-1 which was a balloon that set a world altitude record, also built by Piccard. The FNRS-2 set world diving records, besting those of the bathyspheres, as no unwieldy cable was required for diving. It was in turn bested by a more refined version of itself, the bathyscaphe Trieste.

FNRS-2 was built during 1946-1948. She was damaged during sea trials in 1948, off the Cape Verde Islands. FNRS-2 was sold to the French Navy when FNRS funding ran low, in 1948. The French rebuilt and rebaptised her FNRS-3. She was eventually replaced by the FNRS-4. In February 1954 the FNRS-3 reached a depth of 4,050 metres (13,290 ft) in the Atlantic, 160 miles off Dakar, beating Piccard's 1953 record by 900 meters.


The FNRS-3 or FNRS III is a bathyscaphe of the French Navy. It is currently preserved at Toulon. She set world depth records, competing against a more refined version of her design, the first bathyscaphe Trieste. The French Navy eventually replaced her with the bathyscaphe FNRS-4, in the 1960s.After damage to the FNRS-2 during its sea trials in 1948, FNRS ran out of funding, and the submersible was sold to the French Navy, in 1950. She was subsequently substantially rebuilt and improved at Toulon naval base, and renamed FNRS-3. She was relaunched in 1953, under the command of Georges Houot, a French naval officer.On 15 February 1954, she made a 4,050 metres (13,290 ft) dive 160 miles off Dakar, Senegal in the Atlantic Ocean, beating Piccard's 1953 record, set by the Trieste, by 900 meters. (the floor of the Mediterranean off Naples, 10,392 feet (3,167 m)) This record was not exceeded until a workup dive by Trieste in 1959, working up to the record shattering Challenger Deep dive.

Mir (submersible)

Mir (Russian: "Мир", world or peace) is a self-propelled Deep Submergence Vehicle. The project was initially developed by the USSR Academy of Sciences (now the Russian Academy of Sciences) along with Design Bureau Lazurith. Later two vehicles were ordered from Finland. The Mir 1 and Mir 2, delivered in 1987, were designed and built by the Finnish company Rauma-Repola's Oceanics subsidiary. The project was carried out under the supervision of constructors and engineers of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology.

Outline of vehicles

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to vehicles:

Vehicle – non-living means of transportation. Vehicles are most often human-made, although some other means of transportation which are not made by humans can also be called vehicles; examples include icebergs and floating tree trunks.

Pisces-class deep submergence vehicle

Pisces class submersibles are three person research deep-submergence vehicles designed and built by Hyco International Hydrodynamics of North Vancouver in British Columbia with a maximum operating depth of 2,000 m (6,560 ft). The vehicles have multiple view ports, sample collecting, environmental sensing, and instrument placement capabilities. The pressure hull has a 7 ft (2.1 m) inside diameter and is made of HY-100 steel with 3 forward-looking acrylic windows, 6 in (15 cm) in diameter. Designed by Alan Trice, the Pisces series of submersibles are representative of early manned submersibles built in the late 1960s and were proven workhorses in offshore exploration and oceanographic research. Pisces II was the first production model of the design and was completed in 1968, with 9 more Pisces subs built before the manufacturer folded in the late 1970s.

Project Nekton

Project Nekton was the codename for a series of very shallow test dives (three of them in Apra Harbor) and also deep-submergence operations in the Pacific Ocean near Guam that ended with the United States Navy-owned research bathyscaphe Trieste entering the Challenger Deep, the deepest surveyed point in the world's oceans.

The series of eight dives began with two harbor dives, then a Pacific Ocean test dive at Guam, by the newly modified Trieste, which had been modified to dive far deeper than before. After two checkout dives, the first abyssal dive reached a record of 18,150 feet (5,530 m) on November 15, 1959. The series included a record deep dive to near the bottom of the Nero deep in the Mariana Trench at 24,000 feet (7,300 m), and finally culminated with a trip to the bottom of the Challenger Deep at 35,797 feet (10,911 m), on January 23, 1960.The project name was proposed by oceanographer Dr. Robert S. Dietz in early 1958, as plans to modify the Trieste bathyscaphe to go to the deepest part of the oceans were being contemplated. It is in reference to ocean life that actively swims (nekton) as opposed to the plankton organisms that only drift. The bathyscaphe Trieste to be used for Project Nekton was able to move independently, in contrast to tethered bathyspheres. The Trieste featured two electric motors, each with a propeller, of two horsepower each. These allowed it to move forward, backward and to turn horizontally. A maximum speed of one knot (1.9 km/h; 1.2 mph) was attainable over a few miles distance.

Puerto Rico Trench

The Puerto Rico Trench is located on the boundary between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The oceanic trench is associated with a complex transition between the Lesser Antilles subduction zone to the south and the major transform fault zone or plate boundary, which extends west between Cuba and Hispaniola through the Cayman Trough to the coast of Central America.

The trench is 800 kilometres (497 mi) long and has a maximum depth of 8,376 metres (27,480 ft) or 5.20 miles in the Brownson Deep, which is the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean and the deepest point not in the Pacific Ocean. On December 19, 2018, its deepest point was identified by the DSSV Pressure Drop using a state-of-the-art Kongsberg EM124 multibeam sonar and then directly visited and its depth verified by the manned submersible Deep-Submergence Vehicle DSV Limiting Factor (a Triton 36000/2 model submersible).Scientific studies have concluded that an earthquake occurring along this fault zone could generate a significant tsunami. The island of Puerto Rico, which lies immediately to the south of the fault zone and the trench, suffered a destructive tsunami soon after the 1918 San Fermín earthquake.

Rainbowfish-class bathyscaphe

The Rainbowfish class bathyscaphe is a Chinese deep submergence vehicle under development in 2015 and originally scheduled to enter service in 2019. The Rainbowfish is a second generation bathyscaphe designed to be able to dive to a depth of 11 km, effectively covering 100% of the oceanic floor. The general designer is Mr. Cui Weicheng (崔维成), who was the first deputy general designer of the first generation bathyscaphes Sea Pole and Jiaolong. Unlike other Chinese deep submergence vehicles developed earlier, the Rainbowfish was developed under a new business model, raising capital from private enterprise.The Rainbowfish class bathyscaphe is designed to have an endurance of ten hours, with ascent and descent each taking two hours, thus leaving a total of six hours of endurance to conduct research at the sea floor. The bathyscaphe is powered by Lithium-ion batteries and the flotation material is developed by Chinese firm China Haohua Chemical Group, with development successfully completed at the end of 2014. Most of the subsystems of Rainbowfish bathyscaphe such as underwater electric motor, high pressure seawater pump and integrated propulsion system are developed from earlier Jiaolong bathyscaphe. Although many subsystems can be 100% manufactured in China, there are some critical subsystems that had to be manufactured abroad due to the limitation of Chinese industrial and technical bottleneck, despite being indigenously designed in China. One of such subsystem is the capsule housing the crew. During the design stage of the development, it was discovered that the TC4 titanium alloy used on earlier Sea Pole and Jiaolong bathyscaphe are not good candidate for Rainbowfish, because the thickness required would be 110 mm, which would be extremely difficult to build. As a result, alternative material is needed, and the design settled on Martensitic stainless steel. However, existing Chinese capability can only provide the manufacture of capsule capable of diving to a maximum depth of 4500 meter, so foreign assistance was needed with Finnish firm selected due to Finnish experience in construction of deep submergence vehicles. Finnish experts concluded that the Chinese design was feasible after thorough review, both sides are finalizing the deal in the mid 2015, with the completion of the capsule scheduled in 2016. Plans are mde to have future capsules manufactured in China by increasing domestic Chinese capability with governmental support. The mother ship carrying Rainbowfish bathyscaphe will be Chinese oceanographic research ship Zhang Jian.An extremely crude full-scale model was displayed in public in May 2016 and it was reported that launch date had slipped to 2020.

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Command and support


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