A project for the development of cargo transportation by submarines has been developed in our country.
More than half of the area of Russia's oil and gas provinces is located on the Arctic shelf. However, the success of their development largely depends on the presence of a powerful icebreaker fleet, capable of first delivering equipment for geological exploration, and then transporting the extracted minerals.
Meanwhile, the resource of ships built 20-30 years ago, capable of operating in the northern seas, is already running out, and new ships are practically not being built for these purposes. Therefore, it is necessary to create alternative vehicles, for example, cargo submarines.
For the first time, sea transportation on such ships was tested by Germany back in 1916. The submarine then crossed the Atlantic twice with a cargo of about 200 tons, delivering scarce goods through the British blockade.
After the end of World War II, several countries interested in the development of cargo transportation in the Arctic turned to the idea of building transport submarines. After all, submarines can develop high speeds due to the absence of wave drag, they do not depend on the vagaries of weather and ice conditions. And the transarctic routes between Western European and Far Eastern ports are two times shorter than the traditional southern ones. True, the design studies of transport submarines, carried out by specialists from the UK and a number of other countries, only demonstrated the possible advantages of such ships, but were not practically implemented.
In the Arctic seas covered with ice, it was planned to load underwater tankers at the terminal located at a depth that is permissible under safety conditions (at least 90 meters). Oil from the shore to the terminal was to be supplied by pipeline. To prevent pollution of the sea by ballast water, this liquid had to be pumped through a pipeline to an above-ground tank for further processing or discharged into underground tanks. But it did not come to the practical implementation of projects due to their high cost.
In our country, the creation of transport submarines was first started at the shipbuilding Central Research Institute named after Academician
A. N. Krylov at the end of the 50s of the last century. Since the late 1960s, such research has been carried out at the Central Research Institute of the Marine Fleet. Scientists have designed multihull structures for underwater oil tankers, enclosed in a streamlined lightweight hull. In the early 90s, as part of the conversion, employees of a number of design bureaus were involved in the creation of underwater transport vessels.
According to experts, such projects may be in great demand. For example, the Kara Oil and Gas Exploration Expedition requires more than 400 thousand tons of cargo annually to develop the fields of the Yamal Peninsula. In the absence of rail and road communications in this region and high prices for the services of air carriers, sea transport seems to be the most realistic for these purposes.
The employees of the Rubin Central Design Bureau tried to prove in practice the expediency of using submarines as transport ships in the Far North. Recently, for the first time, a Russian nuclear submarine delivered a cargo of food from Murmansk to the Yamal Peninsula. According to the head of the enterprise Igor Baranov, the main purpose of the trip was to check the route and the possibility of carrying out cargo flights to the Arctic coast.
Moreover, for such transportation, it is possible to attract submarines decommissioned from the Navy with an incompletely depleted resource. CDB "Rubin" has already prepared a project for their conversion into transport ships. In addition, the design of special submarines for the transportation of various cargoes is being developed here.