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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Admiral Says Navy Will Buy 2 Scorpio Deep-Sea Vehicles

The Pacific Fleet commander said Tuesday that the Navy would buy two Scorpio remote-controlled underwater vehicles like the British one used Saturday to rescue seven men trapped in a mini-submarine.

The commander, Admiral Viktor Fyodorov, said Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov had personally authorized the purchase.

"Along with the Scorpio vehicles, the minister has also decided we will buy the technical equipment to make them compatible" for use by the Navy, Fyodorov said in a statement released by the Pacific Fleet's press service.

Fyodorov conceded on Monday that although the Navy had a powerful submarine fleet, it did not have the equipment to carry out deep-sea rescue operations.

Scorpio vehicles cost anywhere from $1 million to $5 million each, depending on the configuration.

Ivan Goncharenko, the deputy head of Rosoboronexport, the state arms procurement agency, said the Defense Ministry had not yet sent an official request to buy the Scorpios but his agency was ready to secure the vehicles.

The head of the Federal Industry Agency, Boris Alyoshin, insisted, meanwhile, that Russia could build its own vehicle similar to the Scorpio.

"Our industry is capable of producing such vehicles and other naval rescue equipment, but there are practically no state procurement orders for them," he said.

The Scorpio can be used at a depth of up to 1,500 meters. The box-like vehicle, measuring 1.2 meters by 1.2 meters by 2.4 meters, weights about 2 tons and is equipped with a sonar device, two video cameras, two manipulators capable of lifting 110 kilograms each, and a steel cable cutter.

The Scorpio was originally developed by Ametek Straza in San Diego, California, and is now being built by Britain's Perry Slingsby Systems.

(AP, MT) The Kursk Tragedy