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Mariana Trench Roman

Development of Cable for 10,000 m-class Remotely Operated Vehicle "KAIKO"

Phase.1 World Record Achieved !

The cable provided for "KAIKO," an unmanned deep-sea research vehicle, is the culmination of Fujikura's outstanding technology. We succeeded in reaching the bottom of the ocean in the deepest waters on Earth.

March 24, 1995. Engineers from all over the world gathered to gaze at the Challenger Deep of Mariana Trench off the coast of Guam. "KAIKO," connected with cables developed and provided by Fujikura, dived under the water, heading for the bottom of the deepest ocean on Earth.

This was an unprecedented challenge and achieved the highest record in the world. In the meantime, news of Kaiko's landing on the seabed, 10,911.40 m down, was delivered to project members, who were waiting at a hotel on Guam. Shouts of happiness broke out, with those present taking each other's hands and embraced to share their delight. This moment was like none other—the moment we were rewarded for our efforts and hardships experienced in this challenging task.

The "Kaiko" Development Project started out with a view to preparing an unmanned research vehicle for rescue operations when unexpected problems rose with the manned research submarine "SHINKAI 6500" that was completed in 1989."KAIKO" was developed on the assumption that its maximum submersible depth would be 10,050 m or more, based on the fact that the pressure resistant depth of the "SHINKAI 6500" is 10,050 m (6,500 m×1.5+300 m) or more, as dictated by law. The main developer was the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). The technical proposal specifications were issued in December 1987 to three cable manufacturers. The companies were to submit the proposal specifications based on their respective original technologies by the end of January 1988 for evaluation.

At the time, Fujikura already had its own major test equipment and was ready to start in-house testing straight off the bat, since it had experience providing tether cables for the unmanned research vehicle "DORFIN 3K" (submersible capability: 3,300 m). Furthermore, the Company had played a leading role in a number of underwater cable projects, and this was taken into consideration in the comprehensive evaluation in addition to the proposed specifications. We were able to win the contract as a result of such factors. The challenge to achieve a "world's best" had begun.

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