In my previous articles, I considered the issues of the conceptual lag of Russia in the service sector aviation... And, unfortunately, a similar picture is observed in the field of underwater activities.
That, however, does not in the least prevent the Russian media from regularly publishing reports on how smartly our combat swimmers conducted their regular exercises. But on the basis of what they see, most spectators cannot always draw conclusions about the quality of the equipment and training of these same swimmers.
Therefore, today we will analyze in more detail all the information that is in the public domain regarding our underwater sabotage and anti-sabotage groups.
And you should start with the press release of the Tethys company (deals with the technical support of a wide range of underwater work, in short - "equipment"). About the new Russian breathing apparatus AVM-12, where the logic of the approach to Russian equipment was outlined. By the way, the new device itself is demonstrated below.
At the very beginning of the press release, there is a paragraph that at one time inspired me a lot of optimism:
“It should be noted that the AVM-5 apparatus was developed in the early 70s on the instructions of the Navy and reflected the corresponding level of development of underwater breathing technology and understanding of the tasks facing it. Unfortunately, the domestic industry, which for decades worked on the orders of the military, did not seriously study the needs of the civilian sector, as well as foreign experience, could not offer anything else over the next 20 years. "
This document says that at the time of the 2000s, Russian specialists used the most ancient, one might say, artifacts. Equipment of the concepts of the 70s, moreover, in not the best performance even for those years themselves.
The mention of a fundamental problem also inspired optimism - if some tractor driver worked for 30 years on his old tractor and did not see modern solutions, then he would not be able to formulate qualitatively different requirements, because he did not see anything other than his tractor. In view of this, I had a glimmer of hope that the relevant officials would see how it is in the West. Well, they can copy it. But…
And, however, about everything in order.
The first thing that catches your eye is the lack of unification in such an important piece of equipment as harness systems.
The most successful option for the military, I would choose the Hogarth suspension system based on a monostrope. It looks something like this.
It is based on a metal back, one-piece sling, D-rings and a breast strap. This solution is as reliable as possible, serves for decades, since there is practically nothing to break.
It adapts to any person and to specific diving conditions in 15 minutes, and ideally with millimeter precision. It is universal. And it allows, on its basis, to create an infinite number of configurations, varying the attachment points of additional. equipment. Below are some of the layout options depending on the task.
That is, as we can see, everything has long been developed and foreseen. However, our "bright minds" continue to reinvent the wheel, despite the fact that they themselves wrote about this problem.
“The foreign experience of designing and operating air-breathing apparatus for divers did not remain aloof from consideration. Ignoring this experience earlier led to the fact that the bicycle was often invented, and the technology turned out to be incompatible with the western one.
But they still continue to ignore ready-made verified solutions that could simply be written off. And they ask thoughtfully questions:
“Yes, and divers are very different - some will perform short-term descents to shallow depths (rescuers, freelance divers of the Navy, etc.), others, on the contrary, work for a long time and sometimes at depths of up to 60 meters. It is clear that you cannot make an apparatus for everyone, and universality is always a compromise between what is desired and what is possible. "
Considering the option available to Russian swimmers, it remains unclear - do they even intend to work with some kind of equipment underwater? The complete absence of D-rings cannot be called anything other than absurd. The same towing vehicle, which will be discussed later, must be hooked onto the D-ring.
If anyone does not understand, the photo shows the most recent version of the Russian scuba gear.
A twin configuration with one first stage was chosen as a gas source. This solution is the worst of all possible, since it significantly increases the accident rate. Although the advantage of such a solution is certainly the price.
As a safer solution, we recommend switching to a monifold with an insulator and the first two stages.
What will it give? In the event of a gas leak, simply by closing the isolator, the diver is guaranteed to retain half of the gas and then can begin to search for the exact location of the leak.
The second advantage is that in case of failure of the first stage, freezing or any other problem, the diver switches to another stage, closing the emergency stand, while maintaining access to gas in both cylinders. It also expands the ability to help another diver. But this option will be more expensive by about 50 thousand rubles (30% of the price).
The "logic" of the choice of the volume of the pair is also striking.
"The choice of 6-liter cylinders instead of 5-liter cylinders previously used in AVM-7 is a forced necessity, since unfortunately, 7-liter cylinders for a pressure of 200 kgf / cm2 are not produced in our Fatherland at the moment."
Yes, you heard right. Compared to the 1970s, we have not made any progress. We have degradation.
In other words, the total gas volume in such a pair is identical to the mono-balloon configuration with a 12-liter cylinder - the kind that is available for rent in most diving centers.
A logical question arises: "Why, in general, then use a twin configuration, if the main advantages of a twin are not used: fault tolerance and volume?"
That is, the point is that due to the lack of larger cylinders in our country, it is impossible to use an adequate modern configuration.
And according to the logic of common sense - you need to make cylinders. But no. Again, we will not bother: let it be as it is. And our professional combat swimmers will have the same air reserve as a beginner amateur who decided to make his first test dive in Turkey.
By the way, this gas will be enough for 45 minutes of patrolling in the area of the Crimean bridge. Moreover, the decompression limits when using 32% Nitrox are exceeded in 2 hours.
It is also worth considering the fundamental difference between military and recreational diver. The recreationalist has the ability to plan his dive and stop it at any time. A military diver has a combat mission - it is not known what he will see during patrolling, and how this will affect the dive profile (he may be forced to fall to great depths, where the gas consumption is much higher). So, at 40 meters this gas will be enough for only 20 minutes (excluding any emergency reserves and a safe ascent profile).
And for comparison: the balloon configuration of our "probable friends".
Is there a way to fix this?
Despite the conceptual wretchedness of the solutions chosen, nevertheless, there remains a potential opportunity for correcting the situation. The solution is to use an additional Stage-cylinder with an independent first stage.
To some extent, this option may become even more practical for military purposes.
But this solution requires a well-thought-out and unified mounting system. That is, we again return to point 1 - the absence of a normal, modern, unified harness.
Emergency feed system
Another rudiment from the 70s was the preservation of the reserve air valve.
The essence of this concept is that when a certain pressure is reached, the apparatus makes it difficult to breathe, thus signaling that the supply of air is running out. The alerted diver must manually open the supply valve using the valve.
The irony in this case is how the preservation of this rudiment was played out. Previously, the valve opened the cable, it was bitten, and there were cases of death of divers due to the inability to open the valve. Now the cable has been replaced with traction, which is presented as an "improvement". Although a complete rejection of such a decision would be adequate.
Fortunately, the modern level of production makes it possible to create sufficiently reliable and accurate high pressure gauges. A trained diver must constantly monitor the remaining gas and check it against the dive plan.
Hypothermia is one of the significant risk factors when working in water. If a person is exposed to hypothermia, he is unable to do his job effectively. At the very least, cold affects cognitive ability, including alertness. The problem in this area is directly related to the occurrence of emergency situations even during ordinary training dives, not to mention the performance of real combat missions.
For this reason, the issue of protecting the diver from the cold is critically important.
The most effective solution is a dry wetsuit.
Looking at the domestic samples, it becomes obvious that literally everything in this suit was subordinated to one main goal - maximum cheapness.
Traditionally, the trendsetters in this area are such companies as DUI (supplies suits for American swimmers) and SANTI.
In fairness, it should be noted that not all of their units are equipped with top-end solutions in the United States, as in other armies of the world. However, in this regard, Russia makes a significantly stronger bias towards cheapness.
First. The material of the costumes is as good as possible. This makes it difficult to move, reduces comfort and makes it difficult to work with equipment.
Second. Extremely small size range plus the lack of design possibilities for adjusting the suit at least in height. In words, it is simply impossible to convey all the displeasure of working in a suit that does not fit well. At a minimum, a standard height adjustment system could be made.
The third. The sealed zipper is located at the back, which makes it impossible to zip it up or open it yourself. That is, a person cannot put on such a suit on his own (although such a solution is found in the armies of the world everywhere).
Underwater towing vehicle
The towing vehicle allows the diver to significantly increase the patrol area, distance and speed of movement under water, which greatly increases the combat effectiveness. Walking the same distance with the fins will lead to increased gas consumption and fatigue.
For these reasons, underwater tugs should be an essential piece of equipment. Should. But they are not yet with us.
Recently, another ridiculous attempt was made to create our domestic solution.
Further, I quote from press releases.
In 2020, with the help of R&D, on our own initiative, at our own expense, we carried out work on the development and manufacture of a prototype called "Sprut".
That is, they again decided to put the cart in front of the horse. How can you create a good product without personal experience of operating such equipment?
If dive parameters and objectives are unknown, how will the required operating modes, power, and range be determined?
"It is noted that" Octopus "surpasses requests in terms of its parameters fleet, it is capable of accelerating under water up to 4,5 knots (over 8 km / h). German vehicles Bonex Infinity RS and Rotinor RD2 can only reach speeds of up to three and four knots, respectively. At the same time, the Russian apparatus together with the batteries weighs 34 kilograms, the German ones - 40 and 42. Created entirely from domestic components, the Sprut is capable of diving to a depth of 60 meters. ... Approximate cruising range - 10 miles, operating time - 130 minutes. "
The authors of such releases make their comparisons very sly. The fact is that German vehicles are made in three versions - with 1,2 and 4 battery compartments, while the speed of these models is limited to approximately the same values.
The model with which we are comparing in terms of weight is the largest, that is, the weight is due to the presence of a large number of batteries, which is reflected in the operating time - as much as 360 minutes at maximum thrust.
It is also important to note that the maximum speed for a scooter is a very relative concept, since the final speed will depend on the configuration of the diver's equipment and, as a result, its streamlining and resistance, therefore the thrust indicator is much more important. And, as a rule, the speed in such devices is artificially limited. Those who are not afraid to void the warranty can easily (or not so much) remove this limitation in order to get a more efficient scooter. Although this can not but affect the battery life.
The fact that an on-board computer with a navigation system is built into the Rotinor RD2 was completely silent. As well as about the fact that it is a ready-made and well-thought-out product, for which solutions have been implemented both for airborne landing and for attachment to a submarine.
In other words, the resulting apparatus is an order of magnitude worse than Western models, but not better. In general, it is absolutely logical - it is naive to believe that, without rich technical or cave experience, a team that had previously specialized in anything but scooters will be able to create a product that surpasses the world's best samples the first time.
And this would not be a problem if behind all this there were at least some meaningful perspectives, starting with an adequate assessment of their own "achievements". For example, "we made the first sample, it is worse than Western counterparts, but we will work, and slowly but surely, step by step, we will begin to improve it."
Such a position would inspire optimism.
The current situation demonstrates that no one sees the problem in principle, since this hack (suspiciously similar to an air bomb), already 146% better than Western counterparts and 200% ahead of the "needs of the fleet."
That is, people, in general, are not from this planet. And there is no talk of any mood for work. At the same time, having your own towing vehicle is extremely important, as it increases the efficiency of swimmers by an order of magnitude.
Unfortunately, the equipment of our military divers is poor. Much better.
But the worst thing is not this, but the fact that the actions that are taken are rather an imitation of activity. Some uncoordinated convulsions of a swan, cancer and pike.
The command seems to no understanding what the face of a modern (namely modern) Russian combat swimmer should look like. This makes any development impossible, since there are no criteria for setting a clear TK.
The result was demonstrated above - we are making a nominally fresh system, which is new only in relation to the system of the 1970s. Moreover, she even managed to degrade in terms of gas volume.
In diving, equipment should be an extension of the body. Knowledge is inseparable from skills, and skills are inseparable from equipment. Everything should be as uniform as possible, unified and spelled out in the standards - where the cutting tool is attached, in which pocket the spare mask is, etc. Only after a unified system is created, it will be possible to start practicing skills in it. Prior to that, the existence of combat swimmers as a truly effective structure was simply impossible.
In the end, it can be stated that the Russian PDSS (anti-sabotage forces and means) need a full-fledged reform. Attempts to evolve the absolutely ancient concepts are unpromising and openly sabotage both in relation to people who go into the water with such equipment, and in relation to the production capabilities of our country.
I did not begin to analyze many questions in the article, so as not to burden it. These include: the swimmers lack instruments, dive computers, a spool and a buoy to mark the ascent points. The absence in the system of a regular sling cutter on the belt (!), In order to provide access to it with two hands from any position, and not on the leg (which is a kind of kitsch and parody).
At the same time, it might seem that I was too strict or even biased. But in conclusion, as an additional illustration of the real state of affairs, I will give a telling picture showing the approach to the selection of equipment for our elite units.