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LR-7 Deep Sea 120 - Deep Dive Lifeboat

Following the precedent of the navies of Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, in 2008 the PLA Navy acquired its first deep submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) for supporting submarine rescue operations in future. The DSRV, an LR-7, was constructed by the British firm Perry Slingsby Systems, of the Triton Group, as a development of earlier LR5, the 25 ft long LR7 is designed for retrieving sailors from stranded submarines at a depth greater than 300 meters.

Perry Systems has a wealth of experience in the design, manufacture, testing / commissioning and operation of submersible vehicles. Since 1974, the company has produced over 450 manned and unmanned systems including rescue submersibles and ROVs with special purpose tooling. Technology has advanced remarkably since the production of the first LR class submersible.

As the top-class deep-dive rescue submarine, the LR series deep-dive lifeboats have been exported to France, South Korea and other countries in addition to the British Navy. For China, which is suffering from the EU arms sales ban, the main reason for this rescue submarine is that it has the duality of military and civilian use. In addition, China's existing submarine rescue technology is not backward, and the British government has not obstructed this contract on the grounds of possibly leaking technical secrets.

Perhaps because of Chinese advanced deep submersibles, the United Kingdom lost some concerns in selling the LR series deep dive lifeboats. Today, the LR series deep-dive lifeboat has become the main equipment of the People's Liberation Army, but the future national deep-dive lifeboat will still become the main force of the Chinese naval rescue force.

A product of Perry Slysby Systems of the United Kingdom, the LR7 deep-dive lifeboat is 25 feet (about 7.6 meters) long and can snorkel for more than 12 hours at a depth of 300 meters. There are 3 spherical cabins connected horizontally in the boat, the front cabin is the cab, and the middle and rear cabins are used for lifesaving. When performing the task, first determine the orientation of the wrecked submarine through the spherical transparent cover of the bow, and then dock with the latter by means of the skirt under the hull. The personnel on the wreck can be safely transferred to the lifeboat. According to the design specifications, the LR7 can rescue various types of nuclear submarines and conventional submarines under severe sea conditions, and can carry up to 18 people in distress at a time.

The ability to support submarine rescue is also considered to be an important part of the formation of submarine combat effectiveness. So far, deep-sea rescue life-saving is still a problem that has not been completely solved in the world. The rescue and submarine rescue belongs to the humanitarian category. The rescue force will arrive at the first time and will provide greater survival hope for the crew of the submarine in distress.

In 1971, China began to develop deep-dive lifeboats. In 1986, the "7103" deep-dive lifeboat was successfully tested. Currently, this type of deep submersible lifeboat has been retired. At the end of 2008, China introduced the LR-7 deep-dive lifeboat from the United Kingdom, which became the main active equipment for the Chinese Navy to support submarine rescue.

The submersible lifeboat is highly targeted for underwater operations. The operator is equipped with pressure and submarine for precise docking. When the submarine crew is rescued, the hatch needs to be opened. The procedure is complicated and cumbersome. When docking with the wrecked submarine, it is necessary to consider the influence of water flow and visibility, and also consider the submarine internal pressure and the submarine inclination angle. It requires minimum rescue within the shortest time, difficult to operate the docking, and high risk of underwater operation. In addition, deep-dive lifeboat operators must be proficient in a variety of aspects of handling, navigation, underwater sound, diving medicine, electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, etc. It takes at least 2-3 years to train a qualified operator.

Deep-dive lifeboats are usually stored at the dock for standby, and are carried on a large-scale integrated submarine rescue boat when performing submersible rescue missions. The ship is known as the "mother ship" of the deep-dive lifeboat. It is mainly responsible for the hoisting and recovery of deep-dive lifeboats, and has the functions of supplying power, supplying air, supplying pressure and transferring the rescue crew to the pressurized cabin.

The basic working principle of submersible rescue is to use the deep submersible lifeboat to dock with the submarine rescue platform, form a hard seal and equalize the pressure inside the submarine, establish a life-saving transshipment channel between the deep submersible lifeboat and the submarine, and transfer the crew to the deep. The submarine lifeboat is then transported to the life-saving mother ship by a deep-dive lifeboat.

Submersible rescue is a complex project integrating diving technology, deep diving technology and dynamic positioning system. It is still a problem that has not been completely solved in the world. At present, there are only a few countries in the world with deep dive lifeboats such as China, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, Australia, and Singapore.

A rescue detachment of the North Sea Fleet has the world's top technology maritime submarine rescue platform and high-tech search and detection equipment, and also maintains the Asian record of manned deep diving test. The lifeboat designed and built by China is advanced in equipment system and adopts full electric propulsion to achieve stepless speed change and precise control of speed. Surprisingly, with the side thruster and full-slewing main thrust on the ship, this behemoth can be very flexible to realize the forward and backward movement of the ship, side shift, in-situ steering and dynamic positioning in the working sea area.

In 2000, the Russian "Kursk" nuclear submarine crashed and all 118 officers and men on board were killed. This disaster has given countries a high-profile proposition of "assisting submarine rescue". The same problem is also in front of the North Sea Fleet's marine life rescue detachment. The detachment is the only maritime life rescue detachment of the Navy. It is equipped with the most advanced submersible life-saving equipment of the whole army, and is responsible for the submarine life-saving missions of the entire navy. A variety of new equipment is clearly helping to find targets as quickly as possible, such as multi-mode side-scan sonars, image sonars, and underwater robots remotely operated submersibles. On the side scan sonar display, the pattern is different in size and shape. The installation of a deep-dive lifeboat has greatly improved the underwater rescue capability of the Chinese navy. The deep-dive lifeboat has a maximum capacity of 18 people and a working depth of 500 meters. Be aware that 300 meters is the ultimate depth that most combat submarines can withstand. This lifeboat has a propulsion system consisting of six propellers that allow it to freely adjust its attitude under water to interface with the wrecked submarine.

After the lifeboat is put into the water, the sound locator and the image sonar are used to determine the position of the submarine. After the lifeboat arrives above the rescue submarine rescue platform, it first docks with the wrecked submarine rescue platform. After the pressure balance in the submarine boat is balanced, the lower submersible lifeboat lower compartment cover and the wrecked submarine rescue hatch are opened, and the two are integrated into one. The life-saving transshipment channel, the crew smoothly passed through the passage into the deep-dive lifeboat.

A salvage unit of the Chinese Navys North China Sea Fleet conducted a submarine rescue drill from October 21 to 23, 2014. During the drill, a LR-7 deep submersible rescue vehicle (DSRV) was successfully docked with a submarine at the depth of 40 meters under water with 8 crewmen evacuated from the submarine.

The deep submergence rescue vehicle steamed on the sea surface to execute the submarine rescue mission with a simulated rescue platform of the U.S. Navy. The comprehensive submarine rescue ship Changdao (Hull Number 867) of the Chinese PLA Navy conducted a submarine rescue exercise in the southeast of Pearl Harbor of Hawaii on the morning of July 13, 2016. This exercise was an important part of Chinas participation in the RIMPAC-2016 multinational maritime exercise, aiming to promote the exchanges and cooperation with the international submarine rescue forces, and enhance the capabilities of performing international rescue obligations.

On 23 September 2017, the second phase of the Sino-Russian "Sea Joint-2017" exercise entered the stage of military practice. As a highlight of this exercise, both China and Russia exercised in the scheduled sea area on the same day. This is the first time that the Chinese Navys deep-dive lifeboat has been docked with a foreign submarine. The Chinese and Russian ships that sailed in the show sailed from Vladivostok, Russia, officially kicking off the practice of the sea. During the preparatory phase of the port, the Chinese and Russian aid submersible rescue experts conducted preliminary exchanges, familiarized themselves with the equipment, refined the implementation plan, and conducted desktop deductions.

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Page last modified: 05-09-2019 18:50:16 ZULU