May 31, 2011

Russian sub joins NATO exercise for first time

A Russian Black Sea Fleet task force, led by a submarine is taking part in NATO naval drills off the coast of Spain, the Russian Defense Ministry said, the first time a Russian submarine has participated in any NATO exercise..
Bold Monarch is the world's largest submarine rescue exercise held every three years. This year's exercise, conducted on May 30-June 10 near the Spanish port of Cartagena, involves submarines, ships and aircraft from both NATO and non-NATO countries, including Russia.
"The Russian task force comprises the diesel submarine Alrosa, salvage tug Shakhtyor, auxiliary vessel KIL-158, and rescue vessel Epron," a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said on Monday.
The Alrosa, a Kilo class diesel-electric submarine, will play the part of a "vessel in distress", stuck on the sea bed. Ships equipped with a range of sophisticated debris clearance, diver assisted gear and submarine rescue vehicles will attempt to salvage the sub and rescue its crew.
The Russian auxiliary vessel KIL-158 carries an advanced Seaeye Panther Plus underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the spokesman said.
Panther Plus was adopted by the Russian Navy after an incident with Russian submariners in the Bering Sea in August 2005, when Russia's AS-28 submersible became tangled in a fishing net at a depth of about 190 meters (about 620 feet).
The ROV can operate at depths up to 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).

 (RIA Novosti)

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