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American Forces Press Service

Navy To Send Two 'Super Scorpio' Craft to Aid Russian Sub

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2005 The U.S. Navy will send two remotely operated submersible vehicles to assist in rescue efforts for sailors aboard a Russian submarine reportedly caught in a fish net off the eastern Russian coast, a senior U.S. Navy officer said.

During a briefing here with Pentagon reporters, Navy Capt. Chris Murray, a veteran diver who is helping to coordinate the U.S. portion of the rescue effort, said two "Super Scorpios" will be dispatched later today via an Air Force C-5 aircraft from the U.S. Navy's Deep Submergence Unit located in San Diego.

The C-5 and an Air Force C-17 carrying other equipment and crew, including another remotely controlled submersible craft for clearing debris and two pressurized deep-sea diving suits, are slated to depart later today, Murray noted. The crews and equipment are expected to arrive in the rescue area sometime Aug. 6.

The Navy has increased the amount of equipment being sent to assist in rescue efforts for the Russian submarine. This morning, the U.S. Pacific Fleet announced in a statement that it would be sending a team including one Super Scorpio submersible vehicle to aid the rescue effort.

The remotely controlled Super Scorpio can cut through inch-thick steel cable and can operate at a maximum depth of 5,000 feet.

Murray told reporters he'd heard of a recent news report that said the Russians have attached a line to their stricken submarine and now are attempting to tow it to shallower waters.

"That makes sense" under the present circumstances, said the U.S. naval officer, noting the Russian submarine can be brought into shallower waters to attempt a rescue of the crew, if necessary.

Murray noted he'd heard that the seven-crewmember Russian submarine had been snared on some fishing net, but added that he was also told some of the needed U.S.-provided rescue equipment would need the capacity to cut through three-quarter-inch cable.

The United States and Russia participate in the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office, based in Norfolk, Va. The office has an international team of submarine escape-and-rescue experts that coordinate rescue efforts during submarine disasters.



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