Life so ordered that along with the appearance of submarines in the military fleets of states, the need arose to rescue submariners in cases when their submarine, for whatever reason, lost its ability to surface. And this happened quite often. After all, the first submarines were very imperfect and dangerous to operate.
The first case of work to rescue the crew of a submarine and raise it to the surface took place in St. Petersburg, on the Neva River in 1724 during tests of a "hidden vessel" designed by Efim Nikonov. Due to a leak in the leather seal, the "hidden vessel" sank together with the crew and had to be rescued.
Emperor Peter I personally supervised the rescue operations. Under his leadership, the submarine was pulled up by the safety rope to the shore, sharpened by divers and pulled out onto the beach by horse-drawn traction. The death of the crew was not allowed. Thus, the first, perhaps in the world, the head of the successfully carried out rescue operations to provide assistance to the sunken submarine was the All-Russian Emperor Pyotr Alekseevich.
Time passed, the XX century came. It is not in vain called the century of progress. It was with its beginning that the mass design and construction of combat submarines for the navies of the most developed states of the world developed. In our Russia, the birthday of the underwater fleet considered March 19, 1906. The day when Emperor Nicholas II
"I deigned to command the highest" to include the section "Submarines" in the "Classifier of military ships of the Russian Imperial Navy".
Further, by order of the Russian Naval Department, submarines were declared an independent class of ships of the fleet.
At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, different states approached the problem of rescuing submarines and their crews in different ways.
In Japan, patriotic education was put at the forefront - instilling in submarine crews a readiness to joyfully die for the glory of the Emperor.
In Russia, at the request of the Admiralty Board, Emperor Nicholas II signed a decree on the payment of a monthly monetary bonus to submarine crews for special conditions of service - to compensate for the risk, so to speak. Unfortunately, the Admiralty Collegium could not give an answer to the emperor's question about the technical security of diving, but promised to think it over.
In Germany, they approached on a larger scale. The German Chancellor of State took the problem somewhat more thoughtfully than his foreign royal colleagues. According to his decrees, not only the payment of a monthly monetary allowance to submariners began, but also the design and construction of a specialized vessel - a submarine rescuer - was organized.
And in 1907, a catamaran-type vessel with a displacement of 1600 tons - the rescuer of submarines "Vulkan", was included in the German submarine formation.
It was equipped with a lifting device that allows lifting objects with a lifting weight of up to 500 tons from the bottom soil. A group of divers, equipped with the most advanced diving equipment and equipment at that time, carried out the work underwater to sharpen the objects being raised.
In fact, the Volcano was the world's first specialized submarine rescue vessel.
By the way, on January 17, 1911, "Volcano", with the help of divers sharpened the bow end of the sunken submarine of the German fleet U-3 and brought it to the surface, provided an independent exit of 30 submariners through a torpedo tube. Then he lifted this boat.
Unfortunately, the Vulcan's age was short-lived. At the end of 1918, in the division of the trophies of defeated Germany, he went to Britain. And on April 6, 1919, it was flooded.
It is believed, so as not to confuse the minds of the submariners of Her Majesty's fleet. After all, the composition of the forces and means to assist the crews of the submarines of the British fleet at that time was about the same as in Japan.
It is surprising - why the lords of the British Admiralty did not put this ship on the search and rescue support of the operations of their own British submarines?
The reason seems to be British stiffness and aristocratic contempt for the lower class.
However, back to our Russia.
On the new "outlandish" ships, which were in those days submarines, were mainly appointed officers, for whom the purpose of their whole life was serving the Tsar and the Fatherland, and who also considered the basis of their service to be subordination and professional literacy. And, of course, the issues of search and rescue support for the actions of their ships interested them not in the least.
In addition, the High Command of the Fleet in those days was always open to constructive proposals. And they did.
At the suggestion of the Kronstadt military diving school, in 1907, diving equipment began to be supplied to the submarines, which was made directly by the school's workshops. The equipment was intended for carrying out ship diving operations (untangling a submarine from fishing nets, working on the hull, etc.).
In June 1909, the commander of the Kefal submarine of the Siberian (Far Eastern) flotilla V.A. On command, Merkushov submitted a report to the Naval General Staff with a proposal and justification for the construction of a specialized submarine rescue vessel.
The rationale was simple - saving the lives of the crew of the sunken boat and raising it to the surface for repair and subsequent commissioning. For a prototype when designing, he recommended taking the aforementioned German rescue ship "Vulkan".
The report was considered, approved and already in 1911 the project of the ship was developed. The officers of the Kronstadt military diving school took an active part in its design. On November 25, 1912, an order for the construction of a rescue ship was accepted for execution by the Putilov Plant.
On November 17, 1913, the ship was launched. And on July 14, 1915, under the name "Volkhov", it entered the Baltic Fleet.
The vessel had a displacement of 3100 tons, a lifting device for lifting objects with a lifting weight of up to 1000 tons from the bottom soil, and a diving service.
Thus: only 6 years have passed from the report with the outlined idea to the ship that has no analogues in the Russian fleet.
Without computers, but on a drawing board and with a slide rule. And no underfunding or import substitution. Presumably, the king appreciated the lives of his submariners. Yes, and the Naval General Staff in those days was able to find the correct, state approach to the flagships of capitalist industry.
It should be noted that this rescue ship under the name "Commune" is still on duty as part of the search and rescue forces of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
The Russian Imperial Navy did not create a search and rescue system for submarine operations. It was premature then. However, he showed with piercing evidence to those in power who followed in the state nobility in relation to saving the lives of their submariners.
In March 1931, the submarine "Rabochy" sank at a depth of 84 meters in the Baltic Fleet as a result of a collision with a submarine. On June 21, she was raised to the surface by the rescue ship "Kommuna". The work to lift it was fraught with great difficulties and risks. After all, divers in those days, when working at great depths, used ordinary air for breathing.
This caused nitrogen anesthesia (nitrogen intoxication) leading to the diver's inadequacy, which threatened him with death. After the boat was lifted, it was found that the people who were in the non-flooded compartments lived for a long time and died from a lack of oxygen.
This prompted the Revolutionary Military Council to immediately assign to the Military Medical Academy and EPRON the task of designing rescue equipment for submariners, as well as to create on the basis of the technical management of the People's Commissariat of the Navy a permanent commission for emergency rescue. Under the supervision of the aforementioned commission, the equipment was created in the shortest possible time.
Thus, beginning in 1932, submarines began to receive the first serial rescue equipment with a self-contained breathing apparatus of the E-3 series; E-5 ”and TU-1 diving suit, and the permanent commission continued its work to improve the diving business and the means of rescuing submariners.
The first practical exit of submariners from a submarine from a depth of 16 meters in rescue equipment was carried out during exercises under the leadership of Captain 1st Rank G.N. Bachelor.
In 1938, the progress of the introduction of rescue equipment on the submarines of the Pacific Fleet was checked. Its conclusions were very deplorable - the ships received rescue equipment, but there was no one to train submariners in the rules of its use.
Based on the results, the Military Council of the RKKF decided on the need for the fastest construction of coastal training stations and staffing them with staff: a diving specialist, a physiologist and diving instructors to conduct planned light diving training of submariners and control the state of rescue equipment on submarines.
On October 24 of the same year, by order of the commander of the Pacific Fleet, 2nd rank flagship N.G. Kuznetsov, experimental exercises were successfully carried out on the independent exit of submariners from weapons from the submarine Shch-112, which is underwater, through the torpedo tube and returning the same way back.
In addition, during the exercises, for the first time, an independent exit of submariners along a buoyp was made from a depth of 40 meters and a free ascent from a depth of 70 meters. Of course, it was not submariners who got out of the boat, but military divers.
However, the necessity and importance of these teachings cannot be underestimated. They demonstrated and convinced the submariners that, having quite certain knowledge and skills in the use of rescue equipment, one can simply get out of the sunken boat to the surface. In addition, the possibility of using submarines for the covert landing of diving reconnaissance and sabotage units on the enemy's coast and returning them after completing the mission was shown.
And such a unit was created by order of July 30, 1941, No. 9 of the head of EPRON, Rear Admiral F.I. Krylova "On the formation of a special unit of divers from the diving staff of a military diving school evacuated from the city of Vyborg to the city of Leningrad." Subsequently, this unit became known as the Special Purpose Company (RON), which covered itself with unfading glory.
The Soviet government had to create a search and rescue system for the operations of the Navy in general and submarines in particular. Moreover, in the process of waging the Great Patriotic War and immediately after it.
On June 22, 1941, by joint order of the NK Navy and NK MF No. 0525/22, a Special Purpose Underwater Expedition (EPRON) was introduced into the Navy.
On July 2, 1942, in accordance with the order of the NK of the Navy No. 0469, by doubling the staff of EPRON and merging with it the functional diving service of the Navy (Rescue Department of the General Staff of the Navy), the Emergency Rescue and Ship Lifting Service of the Navy was formed. It was headed by Rear Admiral F.I. Krylov. Subsequently, he became the ancestor of a systematic approach to organizing the rescue of people, as well as ships and their cargo in the Navy.
On January 3, 1944, in accordance with the order of the NK of the Navy No. 05, the service was reorganized and renamed into the Emergency Rescue Service (ACC) of the Navy.
In this harsh time, the task of saving the lives of sailors rose to the same level with combat missions. Already in January 1945, despite the military difficulties, a research institute for emergency rescue was organized in the city of Lomonosov (a satellite of the city of Leningrad).
From that moment on, the construction of a harmonious, multi-level system of search and rescue support of actions (PSO) of the Navy as a whole and its submarines, as a separate element of the system, began on the USSR scale.
Thus, we can conclude that at the origins of both the Navy PSO System and special diving reconnaissance units of the Navy are two of the same people: the last head of EPRON and the first head of the Navy's ACC Rear Admiral Fotiy Ivanovich Krylov and People's Commissar of the Navy ( later Commander-in-Chief of the USSR Navy) Admiral Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov.
With the beginning of the 50s, it became finally clear that the commander of the Kefali was categorically right. And specialized rescue vessels are really needed to provide assistance to emergency submarines.
On November 27, 1957, the first such vessel of the long sea zone MB-26 of project 527 was accepted into the Navy. Later it was renamed SS-26. Now it is serving in the Black Sea Fleet under the name "EPRON".
The vessel was equipped with a deep-water diving complex to a depth of 200 meters, a rescue bell, air force supply systems for replenishing submarine supplies, a ventilation system for shelter compartments of a sunken submarine, and a towing winch.
For fixed anchorage above the object, there were four sets of roadstead equipment on board with a depth of setting up to 500 meters. A total of 8 such vessels were built.
In February 1958, the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR "On the provision of the emergency rescue service of the Navy with rescue vessels and emergency rescue equipment" was published, which was immediately accepted for execution by both science and industry.
As a result, in September 1967 the fleet received the Project 530 Karpaty rescue and recovery vessel, designed to provide assistance to emergency submarines, as well as to raise them to the surface. In 1968, this vessel for the first time in the world from a depth of 200 meters lifted the deceased submarine SF S-80.
At the same time, for the operation of sufficiently high-tech rescue equipment for such vessels, specialists with deeper knowledge were required. In this regard, on August 8, 1963, the Naval General Staff Directive No. OMU / 3/7296 took place, in accordance with which at the V.I. IN AND. Lenin, which is located in the city of Pushkin (a suburb of St. Petersburg), a department of divers-technicians with a three-year training period was opened.
And since 1975, the level of training of specialists has been further increased. They began to be trained by the shipbuilding faculty of the oldest in Russia Engineering School of Ship Architecture - VVMIOLU named after F.E. Dzerzhinsky.
An analysis of the accident rate showed that in peacetime, submarines most often suffer accidents at their training grounds, in the immediate vicinity of their basing points. And in accordance with the calculations carried out, for a full-fledged search and rescue support of the process of combat training of submarines, it is necessary to have (per one submarine squadron) at least one SLSF in the far and two SLSFs in the near sea zone.
As a result, in 1963, the first specialized rescue vessel of the near sea zone submarine of Project 532 Zangezur, which was armed with a deep-sea diving complex, a rescue bell and life support systems for submariners in shelter compartments, entered the Navy.
This rescue vessel was introduced from the 39th Emergency Rescue School of the Navy. Almost all deep-sea divers of the USSR Navy went through training on it. A total of 13 units of such vessels were built.
After covering the zones of combat training, the question arose about the PSO of the areas of combat alert and the combat service of submarines, including areas hidden by ice.
And here the creative thought of the staff of the Research Institute for Emergency and Rescue Affairs produced a masterpiece that has no analogues in the world today.
After carrying out a lot of research and development work, together with the Central Design Bureau "Malakhit", he developed a draft design for a rescue submarine. After that, the documentation was transferred to the Lazurit Central Design Bureau for the development of design working and design documentation.
The boat was lovely. She was even better than Jules Verne's fantastic Nautilus and the Pioneer submarine from The Secret of Two Oceans. If only because, in addition to the deep-water diving complex for saturated diving and a towing winch, it carried two deep-sea rescue vehicles of project 1837.
On September 7, 1975, the boat of Project 940 entered the water from the slipway of the Leninsky Komsomol shipyard in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
In total, 2 units were built: for the Pacific Fleet and the Northern Fleet.
The problems of withdrawing the damaged submarine, which had lost its speed, from under the ice, rescuing submariners from the submarine sunk under the ice, were resolved. In addition, the fleet received a rescue vessel capable of carrying out work for its intended purpose, regardless of weather conditions.
In 1981, one of these boats (BS-486 of the Pacific Fleet), for the first time in world practice, transferred the rescued submariners from the first compartment of the sunken S-178 submarine to its diving complex under water.
At the same time, the zone of influence of the Soviet Navy, which had expanded to the size of the World Ocean, required the buildup of the PSO forces.
In this regard, on December 28, 1980, the most powerful in stories PSO rescue vessel of submarines "Elbrus" of project 537, remaining at the Black Sea Fleet. And after him the second (the same) under the name "Alagez", which went to the Pacific Fleet.
In addition, on July 20, 1978, a search and survey vessel with the function of rescuing submariners of project 0536 “M. Rudnitsky ". It had on board two manned underwater vehicles: one worker (project 1839) and one rescue (project 1837K).
“G. Titov "and" Sayan "
A total of two ships were built. And on May 18, 1982, a search and survey ship with advanced search capabilities and the function of rescuing submariners “G. Titov "project 05361.
The second vessel of the same "Sayany", equipped with a towed complex for searching large-sized objects on the bottom soil (at depths of up to 2000 meters with a width of the surveyed strip of 1,5 kilometers) "Trepang-2", became part of the Pacific Fleet. In 1986, at the request of the DPRK Government, it searched for a Project 633 submarine that sank off the coast of North Korea in the Sea of Japan.
In a severe storm, in the shortest possible time the boat was found at a depth of 140 meters and examined. However, the submariners could not be saved due to the destruction of the bulkheads of the shelter compartments on it. Since 2015, the Sayany has been in a dump in Sevastopol, waiting for either modernization or decommissioning.
In 1985, to provide assistance to personnel floating on the water at distances from the base of up to 2500 kilometers, was adopted aviation sea search and rescue complex An-12PS with a landing rescue boat of project 347M "Yorsh".
By 1990, the USSR Navy had the most powerful and best in the world system for search and rescue support for its operations not only in the near sea, but also in the distant ocean zones. The ships of the PSO formations carried out a wide range of works not only in the interests of the Navy and Ministry of Defense, but also of many third-party organizations.
But, the "dashing" nineties burst out ...
The nineties caused discord in the country, defeated the fleet and its PSO system. And they almost passed.
Almost, because no one ever remembered that specialized submarine rescue vessels are, in fact, not only saving the lives of submariners, helping emergency submarines and raising drowned products to the surface, the design of which is a state secret. It is also the whole complex of deep-water diving underwater technical works on the bottom soil of sea areas at depths up to the maximum for a particular diving complex.
This is exactly what will be required tomorrow for the development of the waters of the Northern Sea Route. After all, unmanned underwater vehicles are surveys, as well as ensuring the operation of bottom mining complexes. And the installation of these complexes, the elimination of the consequences of accidents and dismantling are divers.
Unfortunately, the lesson of the oil platform disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has been forgotten.
To date, there are only three specialized submarine rescue vessels in our Navy. Rather, two and a half. And there are no naval aviation search and rescue complexes at all. Accordingly, the building of ships, and military-scientific support, and training of personnel are in the rubble.
Outside the window are visible manifestations of spring. A little more than 20 years ago, the Russian Navy's submarine "Kursk" was lost. The electronic and print media are flooded with publications from various authors close to the Navy, who are trying to unravel the cause of this disaster.
There are many versions. They are all different. And for some reason, no one sees that behind this "information noise" there is a veiled, hidden from the uninitiated eye, the main "secret" of this catastrophe, which for more than two decades, occasionally vaguely manifesting itself and reminding of itself, constantly threatens the death of submarine crews and loss of the most important secret information to the state.
And the essence of this secret is simple - a broken, and therefore unsatisfactorily functioning, search and rescue system for the operations of the Navy in general and its submarines in particular.
And as one of the results - an extremely insufficient number of specialized submarine rescue vessels in the Russian Navy and their complete absence in the Northern Fleet.
After all, if today (20 years after the Kursk) a submarine disaster occurs in the Northern Fleet or in the Baltic or in the Mediterranean, there is no certainty that this will not be a complete repetition of the Kursk.
Today, just like 20 years ago, we have almost nothing to save the submariners from the compartments of a sunken submarine. And absolutely nothing to lift this a boat to the surface.