Submarine of the Navy of the USSR BS-486 project 940 ("Lenok")
On the night of September 26, 2022, in the Baltic Sea at a relatively small distance from the island of Bornholm (Denmark), as yet "unidentified persons" blew up three of the four existing lines of the Nord Stream gas pipeline.
I began my officer service as a commander of a group of aquanauts on a Soviet special submarine of project 940 (Lenok), and I am quite familiar with the technologies for performing various diving operations, including undermining underwater pipelines.
In order to get closer to the truth, let's first try to figure out what underwater technical work needs to be done and what technical means to use to carry out this event.
We know that the depth of the sea in places of explosions is from 84 to 74 meters. It is also known that the gas pipeline is laid on the bottom soil, made of large-diameter steel pipes with a steel wall thickness of about 35 millimeters, and is covered with a concrete protective lining on the outside. In order to cut it as shown on television shootings, a linear factory (not home-made) shaped charge with a capacity of just over 250 kilograms is needed, laid in a circle around the pipe.
The gas pipeline has a security zone 1 meters wide (000 meters on each side of the center line of the gas pipeline), in which anchoring and other actions that pose a potential threat to the pipeline are prohibited. The pipeline is not marked on the water surface. In order for the ship, even knowing the exact coordinates, to find it, it is necessary to perform a technical (using a hydroacoustic search station, or a remote-controlled uninhabited underwater vehicle - ROV) or diving additional search. At the same time, it is prohibited to anchor ships in the protected zone of the pipeline.
From all of the above, it follows that in order to lay a charge on the pipeline in those places where explosions have been carried out, a vessel with a deep-sea saturated diving complex on board is needed. The fact that the divers worked precisely in the mode of saturated diving is indirectly indicated to us by the corridor of depths at which the explosions were committed. A corridor of 10 meters allows divers to work without changing the mode.
In addition, the vessel must be equipped with a dynamic positioning system and sonar search equipment. That is, it must be able to find an object and hold a place above it without anchoring. It is either a military submarine rescue vessel or an offshore deep sea underwater technical work vessel.
The deep-sea diving complex of saturated diving is a pressure chamber (with all household amenities), in which, being under pressure corresponding to the depth of the forthcoming work, using an artificial gas mixture for breathing, corresponding to a given depth, people live - deep-sea divers (aquanauts). This technology of deep-sea diving descents is widespread all over the world. It allows more than an order of magnitude to increase the productivity of divers. Here, divers live and work under the pressure of the depth of work, and decompression is carried out only after the completion of the diving descent.
The duration of the diving descent by the method of saturated diving depends on the depth of work, in the general case it is 25 days. To deliver divers under water to the place of work, a diving bell is used - a special vertical pressure chamber, into which divers in diving equipment go and which, without changing pressure, delivers them to the depth for direct work. At the same time, two divers (working and safety) in diving equipment through the hatch located at the bottom of the chamber enter the aquatic environment for work, and the third one, providing, without equipment, remains in the bell to ensure the work of the first two: controls the cable-hose bundles of divers, to which the respiratory mixture, water for heating, telephone and television cables are supplied, regulates the temperature of the coolant for heating divers, and so on.
But no one has seen such vessels in the protected zone of the pipeline since the completion of its construction. And it is very difficult not to notice them with the modern total control of navigation in the Baltic.
German version. Yacht
There is a version that the installation of charges and undermining of pipelines was carried out from a yacht, by a crew of six people, of which two were divers. But this version does not withstand even light criticism. After all, "do not drop anchors" applies to yachts.
It can be assumed that the yacht had a source of electricity capable of operating a portable sonar, and she surveyed the pipeline area. And having found a pipe, she dropped a small buoy with an anchor to mark the place.
And further under the water, along the buoyrep, a diver should go to a depth of 80 meters. He should be wearing insulated diving suits, a diving compass, a hydroacoustic communication station, a diving breathing apparatus - scuba gear or a rebreather, and a huge bundle of cylinders with gas mixtures for decompression in the water during a slow exit to the surface after work.
The task that he must complete is to find the pipe, because it is not a fact that the anchor of the buoy fell to the ground in the immediate vicinity of it, and fix the trigger line on it - a cable that serves as the shortest path for the diver from the surface to the object, and also serves to supply diver from the surface of the charge elements. A buoy is fixed at the second end of the cable, since it cannot be attached to the yacht, because the yacht will stop drifting, and this will be noticed. It is very difficult to go down to the ground along the buoy and then find a pipe in these underwater twilight. But, having found the pipe, the diver must fasten the trigger line to it, which means making a dig under it with a knife and hands to secure the trigger line by circling around it.
It should be noted that the duration of the work of a diver in such equipment at a depth of 80 meters is very limited. This is, under the most favorable set of circumstances, 20–30 minutes, after which it is necessary to start a long ascent to the surface, with decompression in the water along the ascent. Decompression will take at least 6 hours. Of the tools, this diver has only a knife, therefore, for this work, he will need at least 1 hour. Therefore, the first diver will leave for decompression, having started work, he will be replaced by the second one, who also will not have time to dig under the pipe. The result of the day will be the started digging under the pipe. Then a break in diving for a day, so as not to get decompression sickness. And the buoy will remain on the surface of the water, and someone will probably become interested in it and rip it off, and next time you will have to start all over again.
In addition, there is no place to buy a factory-made shaped charge; it is made strictly according to the characteristics of the object being blown up. In addition, with this method of diving descents, one diver simply cannot fix a linear charge on a pipe with a diameter of 1,3 meters.
Thus, the German version of an allegedly pro-Ukrainian trace disappears as unreality.
American version. "Jimmy Carter"
There is also the American version, and it is more plausible, but upon closer examination, there are too many inexplicable nuances.
After all, as already mentioned, no one has seen a specialized ship-carrier of a deep-sea diving complex for saturated diving in the area. And for divers working in light diving equipment without the use of deep-sea diving complexes and weighing themselves with a bunch of cylinders with breathing mixtures with various inert gases in order to undergo decompression under water in shortened modes, which are very complex and still very long, work on undermining pipelines is very dangerous and extremely difficult to implement.
And here the answer to the question, “from which carrier the divers worked,” gives article hydronaut, historian of hydronautics Vladimir Ashik in the newspaper "Izvestia" dated March 14, 2023 "Traces at the bottom", in which Vladimir Mikhailovich talks about the US nuclear sabotage submarine "Jimmy Carter".
As I already wrote, I started my officer service on about the same, but Soviet submarine. Like the Jimmy Carter, she also had a deep-sea saturation diving complex, but was diesel-electric, which was largely inferior to the Jimmy Carter. Although the main purpose of this boat was to assist the crews of sunken submarines, she could do the job of covert mining of underwater pipelines very easily. There were two such boats in the Navy: one for the Pacific Fleet, the second for the Northern Fleet. But the Pacific in 2000 was sold to China, and the North Sea in 2005 was cut into metal.
The technology for installing charges on pipelines like the Nord Stream for divers of such boats is not very complicated. The boat, having received the task, introduces its divers into a saturation diving mode corresponding to the planned depth of work. Covertly, being in a submerged position, a sonar search station finds a pipe and, in the case of Jimmy Carter, it stands on special "legs" in parallel, and in the case of "Lenk" it is even easier. He stands on the stern and bow special anchors (guides) above the pipeline, perpendicular to it, the exit from the diving complex in this case will be just above the pipe, which will greatly facilitate the delivery to the pipe of the property and equipment necessary for the work of the diver.
A special submarine does not need a diving bell. Here, divers, who are in a pressure chamber under pressure from depth, put on diving equipment, enter a special compartment of the pressure chamber, it is called the receiving and output compartment, equalize the pressure in this compartment with the outboard one and open the diving shaft - a vertical pipe with a diameter of 800 millimeters, and go overboard through it . Then, after 30 minutes, the soil under the pipe is washed away with a hydromonitor, they spend about an hour hanging a linear shaped charge around the circumference of the pipe, after 20 minutes they connect an acoustic explosive machine with a slowdown of the executive signal and go into the boat.
And the boat moves to the next pipe, where the event is repeated.
Our president, referring to surveys conducted by Gazprom, told the media that at a distance of 30 kilometers from the explosion site towards Denmark, a certain beacon was found on the ground near the pipeline. Considering the Jesuit planning methodology practiced in the American leadership, it is quite possible that next to this “beacon”, under the pipe, a concentrated charge of kilograms of 500 power is buried. And the "beacon" is an acoustic explosive machine, patiently waiting for a signal. For deep-sea divers of the sabotage nuclear submarine Jimmy Carter, such work is not difficult to perform.
By the way, the "legs" of "Jimmy Carter", in the places of his work, should leave specific traces on the bottom soil by which he can be identified.