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U.S. mini-sub could be a life-saver

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.S. mini-sub could be used if Russia were to request assistance from NATO in the rescue of the stranded submariners, U.S. Navy officials told CNN.

The mini-sub could be used in conjunction with a U.S., British or French submarine acting as its "mother ship," the official added.

The U.S. Navy's Deep Submersible Rescue Vehicles (DSRV) are stationed in San Diego, California, and are designed to be transported aboard a giant C-5A "Galaxy" transport plane or a C-17 "Globemaster."

Once in place in a location near a submarine in distress, the DSRV would be fitted onto the deck of another, larger submarine such as the U.S. Los Angeles class "fast attack" sub, from which it is capable of making shuttle missions to a submarine in trouble, rescuing up to 24 sailors per trip, Navy officials said.

When the DSRV was designed, the U.S. worked with NATO allies to ensure that the mini-sub was compatible with submarines from friendly nations.

As a result, the U.S. rescue submarine can be used from the deck of not only U.S. submarines but also from British and French subs, the Navy said.

The United States Navy operates 10 specially-outfitted submarines that can function as "mother ships". The British Navy has four such submarines, and the French two.

From CNN National Security Producer Chris Plante



RELATED STORIES:
U.S. survivors of 1939 sunken sub fear for trapped Russians
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August 7, 2000
All submarine systems "go" at international date line
December 31, 1999

RELATED SITE:
US Navy Factfile

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