Exclusive: This New ‘Titanic’ Submersible With Gull Wings Is Designed to Explore the Ocean’s Deepest Trenches
The new 13000/2 TE from Triton, which stands for Titanic Explorer, is the deepest diving submersible with acrylic pressure hull ever made. It is also the first to feature retractable gull wings. The TE was named after the 2019 exploration by a Triton from RMS Titanic. It was the first manned mission the Titanic visited in 14 years.
The new model has a depth of 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) for deep sea exploration. Triton said the retractable seagull wing design offers versatility in underwater use. When the wings are retracted, the submarine is more streamlined for quick ascents and descents and can maneuver even in tight spaces. When the wings are fully extended to nearly 20 feet, they become a platform for lights and cameras. They are also designed for scientific observation or close macro video work. The submarine also has a “silent glide” feature for filming sensitive species.
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"When we thought about the design of the Triton Titanic Explorer, we knew the darkness in the depths had to counteract the unique visual ability of being the deepest acrylic-shell diving submarine," said John Ramsay, Triton's chief design engineer. "What's the point if you can't see anything down there? That's why we developed the Gull Wings to counteract that."
Ramsay said the built-in lighting and cameras allow the operator "to adjust the position of the wings for dexterity, control and maneuverability". He added that the design will be good for deep-sea filmmakers, researchers, and scientists.
The other novelty is the acrylic ball, which makes it possible to dive below 13,000 feet. The company said advances in materials technology and the development of in-house manufacturing techniques are enabling the thickest, strongest clear acrylic hull possible.
Ramsay said the acrylic becomes "virtually invisible" beneath the ocean's surface, giving a powerful panoramic view without distortion. He said the BBC's award-winning Blue Planet II series showed that the clarity of footage captured from Triton's acrylic submersible and outdoor cameras was indistinguishable.
Patrick Lahey, co-founder of Triton, said his company always asked, what's next? "We found that it's not just about getting on a submersible, it's also about the user experience and the things we can do underwater once," he says. "People are starting to think about submarines and ocean exploration in new ways, and we're excited to bring this technology to them."
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