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Military


Chinese Deep Sea Submersibles

HOV Human-Occupied Vehicles
  • 300 meters : Type 7103
  • 600 meters : LR-7
  • 4,500 meters : Shenhai Yongshi
  • 7,000 meters : Jiaolong
  • 10,000 meters : Fendouji


  • ROV Unmanned Submersibles
  • ?,000 meters : Hailong 1
  • 3,500 meters : Hailong 2
  • 6,000 meters : Hailong 3
  • 11,000 meters : Hailong 11000
  • 8A4 ROUV
  • RECON-IV ROUV
  • 7B8 ROUV
  • Goldfish class ROUV
  • HR-01 ROUV
  • HR-02 ROUV
  • JH-01 ROUV
  • SJT-5 ROUV
  • SJT-10 ROUV
  • SJT-40 ROUV
  • Seahorse ROUV
  • AUV Unmanned Submersibles
    Under Water Robot
  • 4,500 meters : 4,500 meter AUV
  • 6,000 meters : Qianlong 1
  • 11,000 meters : Qianlong 2
  • Arctic class ARV
  • CR-01 AUV
  • CR-01A AUV
  • CR-02 AUV
  • Explorer AUV
  • HSU001 unmanned submarine
  • Intelligent Water class AUV
  • Haiyan 1 / Petrel I HUG
  • Haiyan 2 / Petrel II HUG
  • Submerged Dragon 1 AUV
  • WZODA AUV


  • The international depth division of the ocean in Chinese classification is: 3500 meters to 6500 meters for the deep sea, 6500 meters to 11,000 meters for the abyss. The oceanic abyss, one of the largest environments on the planet, is characterized by absence of solar light, high pressures and remoteness from surface food supply. More than 70% of the earth's surface is covered by seawater, and the underwater world is rich and vast, waiting for humans to explore. At present, there are only five countries with operational manned submersibles that can reach more than 6,000 meters in depth: China, the United States, Japan, France and Russia.

    Much of the deep ocean floor, especially in the Pacific, is a deep ocean basin, which is about 2.5 to 3.5 miles deep and covers about 30 percent of Earths surface. It closely resembles the surface of the moon with its features such as the abyssal plain, deep-sea trenches, and seamounts. The abyssal plain is the flat, deep ocean floor. A thick layer of sediment that covers the hills and valleys found in it. Deep-sea trenches are the deepest parts of the ocean. The deepest one, the Marianas Trench in the South Pacific Ocean, is more than 35,000 feet (10,668 meters), or almost 6.6 miles (10.6 kilometers) deep.

    Many prototype submersible human-occupied vehicles (HOV), remotely operated vehicles [ROV], and autonomous underwater vehicles [AUV] were developed during the early period of hardship (19712000). But the main achievement was the establishment of special research organizations and the training of research and development personnel. All currently used submersibles were developed during the second period, of quick development (20012015).. The most remarkable achievement was the successful development of 7000 m-deep manned submersible Jiaolong. The third period aimed to develop 11,000 m submersibles for challenging the full ocean depth (20162020). In this period, two unmanned submersibles and two manned submersibles were the significant indicators of achievement.

    China's first deep-sea research institute has opened in Sanya, South China's Hainan Province, which experts said will be meaningful for resource exploitation and improvements to naval technology. The Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering (IDSSE) at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) passed an acceptance inspection and began official operations on 12 May 2012. The IDSSE is the first scientific research base for study of the deep seas and is also China's first public platform for deep-sea research and technological experiments.

    China is a big country both in land and in sea, but in the past China has put emphasis on development on land, so the opening of the institute shows that the exploitation of ocean resources in China has arrived at a new stage. Scientific research on the use of marine resources has been a hot topic in many countries since the release of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, which reallocated many global ocean resources. Deep-sea research will also have military uses, as studies on complex marine environments can help improve naval technology, which is usually the most advanced military technology in a country.

    The Type I life-saving bell was the first generation of diving bells in China. It is mainly based on wet rescue, taking care of dry rescue, with a dive depth of 130m and a rescueable crew of 6-8 people. In good sea conditions, when the wrecking hull is not too steep, it can also be rescued from the wrecked boat rescue platform. However, due to the lack of self-propelled capacity and operational capability of the life-saving bell, it is difficult to perform the docking operation when the wrecked boat is in a more complicated sea state or when the life-saving platform has other sundries. So in the 1980s, China began to develop operational manned submersibles.

    However, at this time, China's first successful development is the QSZ single-person atmospheric submersible. The QSZ maintains a constant pressure inside, with a working depth of 300 meters and a cruising radius of 50 meters. The submersible has a relay station, and the diver operates a mechanical gripper to perform simple underwater tasks. However, the submersible has only one operator. When the working depth exceeds 300 meters, the diver will be fatigued when working due to the pressure of seawater. Therefore, the QSZ single-person atmospheric submersible can only play a role in the task of not having a deep dive depth and a short working time.

    As the modernization of the Chinese navy accelerated, the warship trajectory extended from the offshore to the deep blue, the world has been impressed by the breakthroughs made by Chinese submersibles one after another, with the submersible Jiaolong descending to a depth of 7,062 meters, the unmanned submersible Haidou reaching 10,888 meters, and the deep-sea underwater glider Haiyi diving to 6,329 meters. China is planning to make a manned submersible that is able to reach a depth of over 10,000 meters by 2020. The continuous upgrading of Chinas deep-sea equipment will help drive the countrys deep-sea exploration and research, and contribute more to the mankinds exploration, development and protection of the blue space with rich resources.

    China's deep submergence vehicles did not begin with Jiaolong and, much as some would like to think otherwise, this expensive and dangerous endeavor did not grow with science alone in mind. Indeed, it was the discovery of deep-sea vents in the mid- to late- 1970s that spurred state interest in deep-sea submersibles as part of a hunt for precious resources, and it is this motive that keeps the vessels bankrolled today. China's greatest weapon in this hunt for deep-sea resources, the Dayang Yihao (), China's most advanced research vessel of the age, went into service in 1995. Also worthy of mention is the Sea Pole 1 bathyscaphe that could drill, sample and videotape at incredible depths, a piece of equipment that ran roughly $180 million.

    The potential and success of this plan led to massive funding in the Ninth Five-Year Plan (1996-2000), giving rise to Jiaolong, a project held in near absolute secrecy until its unveiling. It was part of the eerily named 863 Program of the Chinese government, which saw the creation of supercomputers, lasers, spacecraft, biotechnology, and this very special deep-submerine vehicle.

    Only a handful of countries, apart from China, have ever developed deep sea-diving technology, including Australia, the United States, Russia, Japan, Italy, Switzerland and France. Though China was the last to join the deep-sea aquanauts, it went from a nation unconcerned with deep-sea exploration to one with one of the most advanced submersibles on Earth, able to reach 99.8 percent of the ocean floor.

    Until 1934, the record for deep submergence was held not be a vessel, but by salvage divers who had reached a maximum depth of 180 m., but in that year, Professor William Beebe took a 2 1/2 ton spherical steel bathysphere to the unprecidented depth of 923 meters. Between 1960 and 1968, more than 50 submersibles of significant capability were constructed. One factor was the loss of the US Navy nuclear submarine Thresher at 2560 m. in the North Atlantic.

    The Deep Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Alvin, the worlds first deep-diving submarine and the only one dedicated to scientific research in the United States, entered service in 1964. In 1973, Alvins steel personnel sphere was replaced with a titanium one that extended Alvins diving range from 6000 feet (~2000 meters) to 12,000 feet (~3600 meters). The US Navy hoped to receive its Deep Submergence Search Vehicle (DSSV) from Lockheed and have it in the water by late 1973. Lockheed was also building the Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV). The vehicles were similar, though the DSSV was designed with an operating depth of 6,000 meters [20,000 feet] compared to 1,000 meters for the DSRV [below the crush depth of nuclear submarines]. A fuel cell was planned as the power source for the Navy's Deep Submergence Search Vehicle (DSSV). The 34-hour DSSV mission time and power consumption rate demand peak power of 50 kilowatts and a 1,000-kilowatt-hour energy supply. The DSSV project was eventually abandoned [once the requirement to recover a sunk Soviet submarine changed, but that's another story].

    Monitoring of the oceans and seas for purposes of scientific research, national defense, or commercial development is becoming increasingly automated to reduce costs. For example, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) have emerged as key tools in the offshore engineering industry. Considerable investment is being made by nations around the world to develop UUVs for national or homeland defense. With the increasing requirement for persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations in areas where access is denied or where ISR is otherwise desirably clandestine, UUVs will be increasingly put to use. Use of UUVs to service devices historically tended by submarines, deep submersible vehicles and divers will substantially reduce cost and risk to the operators. So, it can be seen, persistent ISR and other activities in problematic areas drive the need for means of sensing and communicating that do not require human intervention or costly engineering systems.

    Certain warfare strategies require pervasive connectivity, including for intelligence preparation of a battle space. The strategy for preparation, particularly during the lead up to conflict in denied areas, may rely increasingly on UUVs that can gather and relay data to remote users.

    The conventional approaches in designing underwater vehicles for operation at depths of the order of 6,000 feet or below, and with maneuvering capabilities commensurate with surface ships, have been to place the components which are to be protected from the water in a number of spherical or spherically faired pressure capsules, and to arrange these capsules longitudinally in a conventional elongated streamlined-shaped submarine.

    Hollow vessels capable of withstanding extremely high external pressures are in great demand for oceanographic and various other types of both civilian and military activities, including underwater research and exploration, antisubmarine warfare, etc., to serve as the load-carrying envelopes for underwater structures, as vehicles for men and/or instruments, and as buoyant elements for attachment to underwater vessels. It is well known that metal shells can be constructed to provide the strength and resistance to buckling which vessels need to withstand the tremendous compressive stresses to which they are subjected at extreme ocean depths. Such metallic vessels are severely limited in effectiveness, however, by their high weight-to-displacement ratios; at wall thicknesses sufficient to meet the strength and elastic stability requirements, vessel weight becomes excessive. Supplementary buoyancy means must be provided, therefore, increasing the bulk and decreasing the maneuverability of the vessel.

    The design and use of cable cutters to be operated in the ocean environment has become of great importance in the field of marine engineering. Cable cutters have been of extreme interest to navies. One major Navy application is for minesweeping operations. Operation of cable cutters is presently being extended to all depths of the world's oceans.

    The design and construction of cable cutters cover an extensive area of the engineering fields. The general method used for cutting is a mechanical technique usually involving a cutter impinging on an anvil to cut the cable or wire. In some cases scissor-like devices have been used. Operation of the cable cutter has included the manipulation of the cutter at the cable by a diver, either remote or hands-on operation of a cutter which is actuated by the force of contact with the cable, and by remote means using electrical wires to actuate an explosive firing mechanism. Generally, such cable cutters have been designed as expendable in that they can only be used to cut once and are either lost or destroyed by that operation.

    Originally, cable cutters were designed mostly for cutting simple wire ropes and electrical cables. Modern state-of-the-art for electrical cable construction has resulted in the use of KEVLAR as a strength member. KEVLAR is a tough synthetic fiber and cannot easily be cut by scissor mechanisms. Consequently, many new designs for various types of cable cutters have been presented during the recent years. These have generally incorporated powerful anvil/cutter blade mechanisms.

    Modern cable cutting technique is also being applied to underwater deep submergence vehicles. Cutters have been designed which mount to such vehicles and can be manipulated by an operator located inside the vehicle. Cable cutters designed for use at great ocean depths have been required to be heavy and bulky in order for certain pressure sensitive components to withstand and high hydrostatic pressures. This is particularly true where hydraulic systems have been used to provide a powerful cutting force. The essence of the present invention is the presentation of an improved hydraulic cable cutter which is designed to be lightweight and to operate from, and mate with, the manipulators of a deep submergence vehicle.

    The quickening pace of naval operations and the requirements for fast response to distress situations in adverse sea conditions has emphasized with necessity for improvements in existing handling systems. The present systems appear to be quite adequate for use in calm seas and sheltered ports, but are not at all satisfactory in adverse sea conditions where relative motion of surface and underwater vehicles may be extremely high. When it is considered that a buoyant object has six degrees of freedom, three in the vertical plane and three in the horizontal plane, and that the control of the object is frequently attempted from a second buoyant object with an entirely different set of responses to the sea state, the problem is easily visualized.

    China Ocean Mineral Resources R & D Association (China Ocean Minerals Association) was established on April 9, 1990 with the approval of the State Council. Its purpose is to open up China through international seabed resources research and development activities. New sources of resources will promote the formation and development of China's deep-sea high-tech industries, safeguard China's rights and interests in developing international seabed resources, and contribute to the development and utilization of international seabed resources.

    Among the 100 major projects of Chinas 13th Five-Year Plan that have been exposed recently, the Deep Sea Space Station ranks second, and China will launch an intensive marine exploration plan in the next fifteen years, in addition to the 26th item. "Developing deep sea exploration, ocean drilling, seabed resources development and utilization, offshore operations support and other equipment and systems.

    China's deep diving "three dragons" - "Jilong" manned submersible, "Hailong No. 2" unmanned cable submersible and "Qianlong No. 1" unmanned cableless submersible, are China's entry into the deep sea. and four major equipments (medium-deep drilling, TV grab, acoustic tow and electromagnetic) are gradually formed. The deep sea equipment system represented by the law and the oceanic security system represented by the National Deep Sea Base Management Center. The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China made a major strategic plan for building a maritime power.



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    Page last modified: 01-08-2021 14:08:56 ZULU