Russian Navy Project 537 Osminog-class Alagez Rescue Vessel to be Upgraded

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Naval Forces News - Russia
 
 
 
Russian Navy Project 537 Osminog-class Alagez Rescue Vessel to be Upgraded
 
The Russian Defense Ministry will have the unique Alagez rescue vessel upgraded in 2016. The Alagez barely escaped scrapping in the 1990s, according to the Gazeta.ru news portal. The Project 537 Osminog-class Alagez rescue vessel was built for the Soviet Navy in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev. The vessel was designed to rescue the crews of ships in distress, search for and rescue sunken submarines, and conduct deep-water tests and other important missions.
     
The Russian Defense Ministry will have the unique Alagez rescue vessel upgraded in 2016. The Alagez barely escaped scrapping in the 1990s, according to the Gazeta.ru news portal. The Project 537 Osminog-class Alagez rescue vessel was built for the Soviet Navy in the Ukrainian city of Nikolayev. The vessel was designed to rescue the crews of ships in distress, search for and rescue sunken submarines, and conduct deep-water tests and other important missions.
Project 537 Osminog-class Alagez Rescue Vessel in February 2016. Picture: http://bastion-opk.ru
     
The vessel was laid down on November 29, 1979 and inducted into the Soviet Navy almost 10 years later. The Black Sea Fleet had operated her since January 1989 before her transfer to the Pacific Fleet in September 1993. In the 1990s, the Alagez was planned to be written off and scrapped. The Kursk submarine’s disaster in August 2000 was a reason for rebuilding the Alagez, which disassembly had begun by then. Her operational capability had been restored by 2010.

In accordance with the Defense Ministry’s request, the upgrade and current repair of the Alagez’s submarine search and rescue (SAR) equipment is to take place in 2016. The ministry is planning to set aside 23.674 million rubles ($358,000) for her upgrade.

The repair and upgrade will be conducted near Vladivostok, with the modernized ship to be delivered prior to November 25, 2016. The delivery date complies with the annual defense procurement program’s traditional completion date.

According to the governmental acquisition website, May 5 was the deadline for bidding in the tender for the vessel’s repair and upgrade. By tradition, the Dalzavod Shipyard in Vladivostok has repaired and maintained the Pacific Fleet’s ships and vessels in the Primorsky Territory. Hence, the competition is pro forma.
Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that the bidding documentation stresses that the contractor must not be linked with Turkey, i.e. not to be under the jurisdiction of Turkey or controlled by Turkish nationals.

"The work is aimed at expanding the functionality of the SAR equipment of the Alagez rescue vessel by means of upgrade," the Defense Ministry specifies in its request.

In particular, the vessel is to be fitted out with advanced underwater, diving bell and pressure chamber lighting systems and her line communications are to be modified to correct the Donald Duck effect (the high-pitched voices of divers breathing a helium-oxygen mixture). The vessel also will be furnished with advanced medical monitoring systems, video cameras and video recorders - in all, 11 full-color cameras, three video recorders and three visual displays.

The underwater lighting devices are to provide visibility out to 3 m at the least with a Secchi disk of at least 10 m, according to Gazeta.ru.

Early in 2016, the Alagez was reported to be docked at Dalzavod, where it was provided with the cutting-edge Bester-1 deep-water submersible to be used on SAR operations until the latest rescue vessel, the Igor Belousov, arrived at the Pacific Fleet. The Igor Belousov is slated for starting her cruise to the Pacific in late May or early June.

The Bester-1 can dive to 700 m. She features advanced controls and highly precise positioning and motion when submerged. The bathyscaphe carries an advanced guidance and attachment system for attaching to the hull of a submarine in distress, as well as a sophisticated docking chamber fit for escaping the submarine listing 45°.

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