The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has admitted that they have lost an unmanned submarine worth around $5 million that was attached to a survey ship in the Tsugaru Strait which is between the Honshu and Hokkaido islands. The Ministry of Defense has launched an investigation into the matter after nine days of searching for the sub has not brought any results.
When the JMSDF stopped receiving data from the attached cable of the submarine to the Nichinan survey ship last November 30, they realized that the vessel had been lost somewhere between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. The 3×2 meter submarine was tasked with collecting data like temperature, water current, underwater terrain and movements of other foreign submarines in the area, according to a defense official. It is classified as an “underwater drone” because they are able to operate without any humans inside the submarine. They believe the special cable that attached the sub to the ship somehow became loose.
The Defense Ministry has deployed small naval minesweepers the past nine days to search for the missing sub but it hasn’t come up with any trace of it. They have set up a panel to investigate the matter, but assured the public that there was no danger of classified data leaking because the information is not stored in the submarine itself. The Nichinan is the only one of the four survey ships that the JMSDF operates that had a remote vessel attached to it.
[ via Digital Journal ]