South Korean Military Searches for North Korean Projectile Remains Using Saturation Diving

Data photo of a saturation diver wearing a wetsuit. Saturation diving involves a diver entering a chamber installed on a surface ship, adjusting his body conditions according to the depth of the sea where he will operate, and then working in the deep sea for a long time. On the 2nd, the military carried out a search and salvage operation for the remains of a North Korean projectile in the waters 200 km west of Eocheong Island in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province. /Navy

On the 2nd, the military additionally deployed the Cheonghaejin Ship (ASR 21), which was also used in the search for the Sewol ferry and the Cheonan, to search for and salvage the remains of a 15m-long North Korean projectile that crashed in the waters 200km west of Eocheong Island in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province. came out The Cheonghaejin ship is equipped with saturation diving equipment such as the ‘PTC (Personnel Transfer Capsule)’ that enables long-term diving in the deep sea, as well as an accelerator and decompression chamber. The military believes that the level of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology can be identified through the wreckage of the launch vehicle, and if there are satellites in the wreckage, the level of North Korea’s space technology can also be identified.

The military deployed an additional 3,200-ton Submarine Rescue Ship (ASR), Cheonghaejin, to retrieve an object estimated to be 15m long and 2-3m in diameter lying on the bottom 75m deep in the West Sea. The military had already been working with the 3500-ton surface ship rescue ships Tongyeong (ATS-II) and Gwangyang (ATS-II), but they were additionally put in for quick salvage. The satellite named ‘Malligyeong-1’ by North Korea and the launch vehicle called ‘Chollima-1’ are presumed to be the culmination of North Korea’s latest defense technology.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff started the ‘Pohwa (飽和) diving’ work through the Cheonghaejin ship that day. Saturation diving refers to a technique in which a diver’s body is pre-adapted to the water pressure of the depth to be worked through a decompression chamber installed on a surface ship, and then enters the PTC and dives for a long time. This ‘PTC’ and ‘Pressure/Decompression Chamber’ are mounted on the Cheonghaejin ship.

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An official from the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “Attempts are being made to lift the body of the projectile lying elongated on the bottom 75 meters underwater from the Cheonghaejin ship by tying it with a rope.” This object has so far been presumed to be a ‘second stage’ separate part of the projectile, but given its length, the possibility that the second and third stages are stuck together has also been raised. If it is attached to the third level, the satellite inside it may be found. A military official said, “We are continuing to search for other wreckage.”

Saturation diving process graphics.

The military is known to have difficulty lifting the body of the projectile as it continues to sink to the floor. A military official said, “The more it sinks into the mud under the sea, the more difficult it can be to salvage. The military is considering moving the wreckage to the naval base in Pyeongtaek once it is secured.

2023-06-02 12:13:00
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