A critical phase of the development of MATSYA 6000, India's first manned submersible for deep sea exploration, is expected to be complete by FY24 end, Union Budget 2023-24 documents suggest. MATSYA 6000 is conceived as a submersible that can go to a depth of 6000 metres for deep ocean exploration. The USA, Russia, Japan, France and China are the other countries that have such underwater vehicles for carrying out subsea activities at the moment.

The government is targeting to complete 100% of the design and procurement of components for MATSYA 6000 and develop 60% of the integration of personnel sphere, propulsion systems, sensor and controls of the submersible in 2023-24. It also expects 25% of harbour and sea trials to happen during this period.

The government targets to complete 80% of the development of the underwater mining machine that is essential for mining of the deep sea minerals also by the end of FY24. Demonstration of mining machine components in deep water and experimental harnessing of polymetallic nodules are also expected to be carried out during the year.

The development of technologies for deep sea mining and manned submersible are part of the government’s Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) that aims to explore and develop technologies to harness living and non-living resources from the ocean with the mandate to expand the country's Blue Economy. The DOM has received a budgetary support of ₹600 crore for FY24; double that of the revised estimate of ₹300 crores for FY23.

The other major components of the mission include development of ocean climate change advisory services for climate change, technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity, deep ocean survey and exploration, energy and freshwater from the ocean and advanced marine station for ocean biology for capacity building.

Launching India's manned Ocean Mission Samudrayan in October 2021, Dr Jitendra Singh Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences had said that India has the capability to carry out deep ocean exploration of the non-living resources such as polymetallic manganese nodules, gas hydrates, hydro-thermal sulphides and cobalt crusts, located at a depth between 1000 and 5500 meters. He had also informed that the preliminary design of the manned submersible MATSYA 6000 was complete and realisation of the vehicle had started with the support of various other government organizations like ISRO and DRDO. The target was to have the sea trials of 500 metre rated shallow water version of the manned submersible to take place in the last quarter of 2022 and the MATSYA 6000, the deep water manned submersible to be ready for trials by the second quarter of 2024.

The manned submersible is designed to carry three persons in 2.1 meter diameter Titanium Alloy Personnel Sphere with an operational endurance of 12h and systems to support emergency endurance up to 96h.

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