The Italian Navy has awarded a contract to OceanWorks International to upgrade the third of three atmospheric diving systems (ADS), also called hardsuits.
A major systems upgrade is currently underway on the ADS to bring the system to the same standard as previous suits, which were updated and delivered in 2012 and 2013.
The upgrade should be completed by March 2015, followed by delivery to the Italian Navy.
Using thruster improvements and modernised electronic systems, OceanWorks is working to improve thruster and buoyancy systems, as well as electronics and communications systems.
The navy's hardsuit will improve performance and reliability, and reduce technician training.
The 81.2in-long system is powered by four 2.4 HP engines and provides six to eight hours of normal dive time, together with 30 to 40 hours in reserve.
It also features oxygen recirculation with fan-powered CO2 scrubbing capability, a back-up oral / nasal lung-powered scrubber and dual independent oxygen systems at port and starboard.
Additional components include a high-resolution pan, tilt and zoom, a focus video camera, digital compass with tilt sensor and turns counter, as well as optional systems including acoustic tracking beacon and colour imaging sonar altimeter.
Image: The Italian Navy's ADS during deployment. Photo: courtesy of OceanWorks International Corp.