Experts Assessed Capability of “Underwater Internet”

Rubric: Russia, Industry, Future

The Shtil Research Institute (Oceanpribor Holding) developed the underwater wireless data exchange system, reported Izvestiya recently. "Underwater Internet" may connect submarines, submersibles and divers to each other. Mil.Today asked expert divers to comment the news of the recent innovation.

The system is based on the hydroacoustic data exchange channels. The Dialog modem allows interconnection between one or several subscribers. While sending digital data, the modem converts it into hydroacoustic signals and back to original data upon receipt. According to designers, operation range of the Dialog modem is 35 km, depth is up to 6 km, and data transmission rate is 68 kbps. The new modems are already installed in autonomous deep-sea submersibles Rous, Konsul, Bester, and unmanned Klavesin.

Autonomous deep-sea submersible "Rous", Russia

According to Vladimir Yankov, Rear Admiral retired and ex-director of the Diving Training Center in Obninsk, military application of the Dialog hydroacoustic modems seems controversial.

"There’s hydroacoustics named passive, to put simply, sound-locating. And there’s another type, an active one, where a sonar emits signals into space, and it can be located", explained Yankov. "As we see, the project implies active components, so such equipment is by no means covert. And this fact is absolutely unacceptable for divers whose top-of-mind concern is to stay invisible", concluded the expert.

However, the "underwater Internet" may become extremely useful in search-and-rescue operations, says Sergey Kravtsov, a top-qualification diver and a military instructor.

"The advantages are clear and obvious: promptness and online data processing. We lacked such capability before, as there were only hydroacoustic communication systems. They operated non-reliably and depended much on halocline and temperature, even blackouts happened. Definitely, the new system offers far more opportunities", shared the expert.

Nikolai Skrylev, engineer at Morskaya Geodeziya specializing in underwater works, said the innovation was not pioneering.

"German manufacturers (EvoLogics – editor’s remark) do sell acoustic underwater modems with data transmission rate of 62 kbps. Their modems designed for offshore projects are sold worldwide", he says.

Russian-made predecessors of the Dialog modem provided underwater data transmission rate of 3-10 kbps. Abroad, except the aforementioned EvoLogics, similar projects were developed by American L-3 Communications Holdings, Norwegian Kongsberg, British Sonardyne, etc.