‘Deep Ocean Mission’: Indian Navy and Ministry of Earth Sciences to sign MoU

Published : January 21, 2022 21:02 IST

Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology and Union Minister (Independent Charge) for Earth Sciences. Photo: M. KARUNAKARAN

The Indian Navy will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Earth Sciences in a bid to share knowledge in the areas of design and development of underwater vehicles. This was disclosed after the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar called on Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Earth Sciences on January 21.

The meeting also saw discussions on the modalities to be put in place to deepen cooperation between the Indian Navy and the Ministry of Earth Sciences in India’s Deep Ocean Mission. The mission is a project of the Government of India that will be the torchbearer of India’s “Blue Economy” initiatives in the years to come.

Speaking after his meeting with the Naval Chief, Dr Jitendra Singh said that the mission is designed to explore the deep ocean in India’s exclusive economic zones and continental shelf. It will also seek to “develop deep-sea technologies for the sustainable use of ocean resources”.

The Indian Navy is already a crucial member of India’s Deep Ocean Council and will be involved in the launching and recovery in deep waters of Matsya 6000, the manned submersible which is presently being developed under India’s Deep Ocean Mission. Jitendra Singh disclosed that the preliminary design of the manned submersible had been completed and realisation of the vehicle had begun, with various organisations including Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) roped in to support the manned submersible programme’s development.

Matsya 6000, which is being developed under the Samudrayan initiative, India’s First Manned Ocean Mission, is designed to carry three people in a titanium alloy sphere of 2.1-metre diameter enclosed space to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. It is designed to have an endurance of 12 hours and an additional 96 hours in case of an emergency. Undertaken by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), the Samudrayan project is part of the ₹6,000 crore Deep Ocean Mission.

To be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the Deep Ocean Mission was approved by the Modi government in June 2021 with a total budget of Rs. 4,077 crore spread over five years.