A gigantic new research submarine designed by Russia will travel underneath ice floes, mapping its underwater surroundings with a pair of huge plane-like wings. The sub will help Moscow exploit its Arctic frontier as it prepares to harvest previously untouchable natural resources.
The Arctic Research Submarine was designed by the famous Rubin Design Bureau, which was also responsible for the Typhoon-class missile submarines, the largest subs ever built. This vessel will weigh in at 13,280 tons, making easily the largest civilian research submersible ever built, and will be 442 feet long. The sub will have a maximum speed of 12.6 knots and a crew of 40.
The most striking detail is the presence of two sets of wing-like sonar receivers that give the sub a futuristic appearance. The "wings," which retract into the hull like the blade of a pocket knife, are meant to receive sonar signals broadcast from the ship's hull. This allows the Arctic Research Submarine to image its surroundings in all directions as it cruises along underwater at a leisurely 3 knots.