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7 batisphere version of Losharik, 2019.

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‘Top secret’ submarine’s mysterious mission The Russian sub at the centre of this week’s mysterious fatal fire is the most notorious and closely guarded of the country’s military fleet. Marnie O’Neill. JULY 4, 2019 6:32AM

The submarine at the centre of the fire that killed at least 14 crew members in Arctic waters on Monday is the most mysterious and closely guarded of Russia’s fleet. Russian officials have offered little on the circumstances surrounding the incident but the presence of several top ranking military officials on board suggests it was on a mission of great significance. President Vladimir Putin said seven of the dead were Captain First Rank officers — the most senior staff officers in the Russian navy. Two were recipients of the Hero of Russia award which is only handed out by the president. According to the defence ministry, the victims died from smoke and toxic fumes generated by a fire on board a “scientific research deep-sea submersible” mapping the sea floor. It is believed the vessel in question is none other than the “Losharik”, an AS-12 nuclear powered mini spy sub which can operate at depths of up to 6000m — ten times that of a regular sub. US authorities have previously accused Russia of attempting to intercept or sabotage communications via the Losharik’s extraordinary deep sea capabilities to tamper with or even sever underwater cables. Russian media say that the sub on which the 14 servicemen died was an AS-12 "Losharik", which is used for special operations. This is the same sub that the US claimed was capable of damaging undersea cables, accusing Russia of seeking to intercept or disrupt communications. — Brasco_Aad (@Brasco_Aad) July 2, 2019 The sub was nicknamed in honour of an animated toy horse of the same name made from multi-coloured bubble-like orbs. While very little is known about the Losharik’s design, military experts believe the sub contains seven bubble shaped compartments. “The use of these spherical fragments in the design create conditions so that the ship can safely dive deeply. This is the origin of the nickname,” specialist website Covert Shores, which features several plans of the Losharik. Of course, a horse with hidden compartments has many other connotations — in war and computer malware.

Losharik the toy horse is made of bubble-like-orbs, just like the interior of the AS-12 mini sub nicknamed in its honour. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

The seven spherical chambers inside the Russian AS-12 nuclear-powered mini sub help create conditions enabling descents to up to 6000m. Picture: Covert ShoresSource:Supplied The Russian military has never released a photograph of the Losharik but dozens of diagrams and artist’s impressions purporting to be of the model can be found on amateur and commercial military websites. Bizarrely, the only known image of the Losharik accidentally appeared in the Russian edition of Top Gear Magazine in a feature about a test car rally on a Mercedes Benz GL 450 car to Akhangelsk. “On the shores of the White Sea, motorists of the magazine staged a photo session, at the same time passing a submarine peacefully passing along the coast — without being aware of what they were shooting,” the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies wrote in its unofficial blog.


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