Chinese manned submersible ready soon for deep ocean research
Yan Kai, the chief engineer of China's manned deep-sea submersible research vessel Jiaolong, confirmed that the craft will reach a depth of 7,000 meters below sea level this summer, thereby meeting its design goals.
The submersible has successfully completed all of its previous trial runs, carrying three crewmembers to a depth of more than 4,000 meters below sea level and subsequently to a depth of 5,038 meters. The successful trials marked significant progress in the design of manned deep-sea submersible craft in China.
Mr. Yan, deputy director and chief engineer of the China Ship Scientific Research Center, a state laboratory affiliated to the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSSRC), and Jiangsu Province's delegate to the NPC, noted that Jiaolong's missions included chemical, mineral and aquatic biological research.
Yan commented that Jiaolong would mainly be used for maritime exploration, especially in relation to deep-sea resources. "The range between 6,000 and 7,000 meters below sea level is rich in resources," he said. "Therefore, we need to have our submersibles explore and conduct research in this range."
The success of Jialong means that China is the fifth country, following the U.S., Russia, France and Japan, to put such technology to practical use.
Yan noted that the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) has allocated China an exclusive 75,000 square kilometer area in the Pacific Ocean in which to undertake exploration and research. However, he reiterated that Jiaolong, along with other aquatic vehicles developed in his research center, such as ground-effect vehicles (GEV), were "entirely for civil use."
"China's territory includes three million square kilometers of water, and this is a very important part of our territory," Yan added.