Russian submarine designer Rubin Design Bureau revealed it has developed a submersible patrol ship combining the features of a submarine and a surface patrol vessel.
Named Sentry (Border and Offshore Submersible Sentry, BOSS), the concept is intended for foreign clients, according to Rubin.
Offshore patrol vessels are relatively inexpensive, which makes them affordable for countries with constrained budgets. Their operation is profitable because they can be used to prevent illegal trade, poaching and other law infringements. Ships of this type are multi-functional and can be used as patrol ships, and as rescue or research vessels as well. Equipment for the new ship comes mostly from surface ships and aircraft and is commercially available, the company said.
As explained, the ability to dive allows the ship to carry out discreet surveillance operations and evade harsh weather conditions without aborting the mission.
A submersible ship can be used as a submarine, for intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR), as well as other missions. Seabed research capability of the submersible patrol ship would be wider than those of a surface ship.
It can also serve as an inexpensive training vessel to give crews seagoing experience and prepare the infrastructure before purchasing traditional submarines at a later stage.
In its architecture and outline, the ship resembles the Soviet Union’s Whiskey-class diesel-electric attack submarines (Project 613). Basic parameters are also much the same, with the surface displacement of around 1,000 tons, overall length of 60 to 70 metres depending on the configuration, and the crew of up to 42 people including the boarding team.
There will be large pressure-proof containers that can be used to store rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The latter’s launch sequence will be automated, not requiring the presence of people on the ship’s open deck.
The ship can be fitted with torpedoes, small guided missiles and autocannon.