Russian Sub Engages in Drilling Operations
Underwater drilling operations were conducted on the Mendeleev Shelf in the Arctic Ocean by the deep-sea nuclear submarine Kalitka. The submarine has been used to make adjustments to drilling operations that were carried out by icebreakers engaged in indentifying the outer bounds of Russia’s continental shelf. The survey yielded over 500 kilograms of classifiable rocks. The objective was to prove that the Mendeleev Ridge belongs to Russia. This data would expand Russia’s Arctic zone. The Mendeleev Ridge and the Lomonosov Ridge have combined oil and gas reserves of more than 5.5 billion tons. While exploring the ridge, three wells at two separate sites were drilled and soil samples collected. The average depth at which the submarine operated was between 1.5 and 1.9 miles during a period of 20 days. A unique titanium hull allows for extended stays at deeper depths. Kalitka is carried by the adapted Project 667 ‘Kalmar’ submarine with disassembled ballistic missile launching tubes, the bathyscaphe is carried beneath it. According to a representative of the Ministry of Defense, a Mir station uses batteries that can last 72 hours underwater, while Kalitka is a full-scale submarine with a nuclear reactor that secures it a few months of self-contained operation. Kalitka has a recreation room for its crew, workrooms and a kitchen. The air and water regeneration systems are as good as those installed in spacecraft. Technical maintenance of the deep-sea station will be performed by the Sevmash shipyard. Manipulators and the exterior lighting system were damaged during the expedition.