The U. S. Navy has successfully completed two undersea programs that enabled Navy divers to?
The U. S. Navy has successfully completed two undersea programs that enabled Navy divers to descend in open ocean depths of 850 feet, in aquanaut equipment, a feat previously restricted to 300 foot depths.
The giant stride forward in inner-space accomplishments is a result of the successful completion of two coordinated programs: the MARK 1 Deep Diving System project (DDS) and the concurrent evaluation of Aquanaut Equipment System (AES) MARK XI project.
The deep diving system primarily involves a personnel transfer capsule which enables up to three Navy divers to descend to 850-foot depth while maintaining sea-level atmospheric pressure. In this way divers are not required to spend long periods of decompression which ??? with both depth and duration of dive. The DDS also eliminates exposing the divers to environmental underwater hazards during decompression and no longer isolates him from immediate medical attention, if necessary.
Decompression time required by divers in the past rendered it impractical to make long, deep dives from the surface, establishing a maximum 300-foot depth limit.
If more than observation work is desired at the 850-foot depth, up to two divers can leave the capsule to perform required work. If this is the case, the capsule is pressurized on the surface before the dive.
When the deep dive work is completed, the divers are brought back to the surface in the capsule at the 850-foot depth pressure and transferred to a chamber on the ship's deck, where they complete decompression in a warm, dry, controlled environment.
The aquanaut equipment system portion of the program was to evaluate and determine if the AES MARK XI equipment could provide life support at that depth for working parties outside the capsule.
Navy drivers have made five 850-foot dives since October 1970, and have opened a new ear in undersea exploration. Although the advantages to the new workable depths are innumerable, the more obvious ones are the identification of distressed submarines; location and underwater salvage of large objects; construction, maintenance, and repair of underwater facilities.
The record-breaking test dives were held off Port Hueneme, California, and were the result of almost nine months of intensive tests and evaluations.