QSZ-class submersible

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QSZ-II submersible is a type of diving equipment developed in the People's Republic of China, and in addition to being used as an manned atmospheric diving suit, it can also be used as a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROUV), an application frequently practiced by one of the users of QSZ-II submersible, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). QSZ-II submersible is developed by the 702nd Research Institute (中国船舶重工集团公司第702研究所) of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).

Type I diving bell[edit]

The origin of the QSZ-II dates back to the 1970s, when the requirement was first issued, but it was too ambitious for the Chinese industrial capability of the time to achieve. Due to the political turmoil in China during the Cultural Revolution, work did not begin until 1980. When work finally begun, Chinese designers took a practical approach by proceeding in several stages, realizing the limitations of Chinese industrial capability. The Type-I diving bell was the first stage of development.

Type I diving bell, short for Type I rescue diving bell (Yi-xing Jiu-sheng Zhong, I型救生钟), is used mainly for submarine rescue, and it is also capable of being used to carry out some underwater work. For rescue operations, it is primarily used for wet rescue, but when the sea is calm and the submarine on the bottom is not tilted too much, a Type I diving bell can be used for dry rescue operations by docking and mating with the submarine.

The Type I diving bell was first completed in 1985, and five years later after extensive trials and civilian service, it entered the service with the PLAN. It is capable of functioning at a depth of 130 meters and up to 8 (usually 6) submariners can be rescued on each dive.

QSZ-I ADS[edit]

Experience gained in the development of the Type I diving bell had greatly helped the development of QSZ-I, and this second stage of development began before the completion of the Type I diving bell. Development of QSZ-I atmospheric diving suit (ADS) took four years, from 1982 to 1986, and unlike its predecessor, the QSZ-1 ADS was immediately accepted into service on completion in 1987. QSZ-I has a tether management system (TMS). Specifications:

  • Length: 2.08 meter
  • Width: 1.3 meter
  • Height: 1.5 meter
  • Weight: 609 kg
  • Maximum depth: 300 meters

QSZ-II submersible[edit]

QSZ-II submersible is the development of QSZ-I ADS. There are three major upgrades over the original QSZ-I. The first upgrade is the addition of four thrusters and additional sensors such as underwater television, which enables the diver to operate to an extended range with radius up to 50 meters. The control system and computerization was upgraded to enable to diver to move more agilely and easily with the added equipment. The third upgrade is that in addition to being used as a manned atmospheric diving suit, it can also be used as a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROUV). The maximum operational depth of QSZ-II submersible is identical to its predecessor QSZ-I ADS, at 300 meters. The general designer of QSZ-II submersible is Xu Huangnan (徐芑南), a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Mobile diving bell[edit]

Mobile diving bell (Yi-dong-shi Jiu-Sheng-Zhong, 移动式救生钟) is the latest development of QSZ series. It is an upgrade of Type I diving bell using the experience gained from the QSZ-II submersible. The skirt of the bell is modified so that it can dock and mate with the submarine hatch when the submarine is tilted at a greater angle. The addition of a propulsion system enables the bell to perform a rescue mission in fast flowing ocean currents and it can perform both wet rescue and dry rescue. Tests of the mobile diving bell have been completed in Qingdao and it subsequently entered service with the PLAN.

Specifications:

  • Diameter: 3 meters
  • Height: 4.2 meters
  • Weight: 10.5 ton
  • Maximum operating depth: 200 meters
  • Maximum number of persons rescued on each dive: 10

References[edit]