After 850-m Submersion, Moby Dick Prepares for 2-km Dive

Rubric: Russia, Industry, Future

The Russian deep-sea submersible Moby Dick developed by the Volgograd Underwater Robotics Laboratory successfully passed trials at the Lake Baikal. The robot dived at 850 meters and explored the lake bottom, Mikhail Loktionov, Moby Dickís designer told Mil.Today.

According to him, the robot will be upgraded for the depth of 2-3 km by the next winter and try to reach the lakeís deepest point.

Moby Dick submersible passes trials at the Lake Baikal

Moby Dick was tested in April 7-14 and became the first Russian underwater robot reaching such depth. The submersible explored the Baikalís bottom at 650-meter depth and dived down to 850 meters. The descent and lifting were powered by own engines. Initially, Moby Dick was planned to reach the 1,000-meter depth, however, the diving site was chosen improperly, so the distance from the surface to the bottom exceeded 1,200 meters.

The submersible is created especially for deep waters, emphasized Mikhail Loktionov. Russia has never operated underwater robots at such depths, he added proudly.
Evgeny Tatarenko, professor at the Information & Measurement Hardware Department at the Samara State Technical University and the underwater robots designer, in the interview to Mil.Today said the Moby Dickís dive was a serious success. He emphasized the complexity of such operations as deep waters impose strict requirements for the robotís hull strength, engines power and connection cable.
Cables for Moby Dick are produced by a Russian company, however, the submersibleís manufacturers refused to mention its name.

The Lake Baikal at 650-meter depth, photo taken by Moby Dick deep-sea submersible during the trials

According to the Moby Dickís designer, the project is the most compact and cheap underwater robot in its class. Moby Dick weights about 15 kg. American and Japanese bathyscaphs that reached 10-km depths of the Mariana Trench are massively larger.

The underwater robotics laboratory was established in 2000. The company has produced about half-dozen submersibles for Russian and foreign customers.