The increase in subsea activities in the Soviet Union has created a need to develop underwater machines capable of performing various production operations. A Bottom Machines System (BMS) has been developed by INTERSHELF specialists to meet these needs. The BMS comprises three unified families each having a basic carrier and a set of working equipment. The construction features a modularised frame. The80KV class (tractive force) of basic carrier recently commenced testing. It is intended that the BMS programme enables improvements in technology coupled with reduced costs and development times.
The increase in subsea industrial activity requires that methods be available for " drilling, coring, digging and transporting the seabed. Where possible, surface vessels deploying tools are employed, such as dredgers and core samplers, since these provide high levels of productivity. There exist however instances when such an approach is not possible or preferable, deep water for instance, or ice bound waters, within the breakers-zone etc. Ice bound waters in particular present a major challenge in the USSR. Under these conditions diving is restrictive for safety and economy reasons. Furthermore, limited reactive force can be achieved using free swimming ROV" s. Thus the policy to develop the BMS offering modularised construction for high production/low unit cost adaptability to accept a wide range of tools and high tractive force to improve productivity, was conceived. The policy has received widespread support throughout the Soviet union, the development programme being sponsored by more than fifteen of the leading regional construction and exploration organisations.
Due to the comparatively large numbers of vehicles to be built (20- 25 per year) ease of production is a major consideration. Thus the modular layout was developed to permit ease of assembly and in turn offer the benefits of easier access maintenance.