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Russia-based Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering is working on a preliminary design for unmanned submersibles intended to support drilling operations and construction in the harsh Arctic region. Rubin’s General Designer, Igor Vilnit, spoke with the TASS news agency and said that these unmanned vehicles will be part of subsea and under-iced drilling operations.

“Subsea vehicles developed as part of the project are planned to perform exploration and survey work on the soil and in depth of the ocean as required during the drilling facility construction and will support safety during its operation,” he added.

Russia, Vilnit said, is working on a robotized underwater system to secure the Arctic and other offshore areas of interest.

“An integrated robotized system intended for security of lengthy sea areas and continental shelf areas is at the proactive development phase,” Vilnit said.

The Rubin Bureau has been closely working with the Russian Navy on this project, Vilnit said in a previous interview.

“Our bureau is carrying out design work on the next series [of submarines]. We are working together with the Navy’s institutes. In compliance with the cycle of building, operating and decommissioning vessels, such works have been planned and are under way,” he said.

Russia has big ambitions for the Arctic, which is becoming increasingly accessible with the help of global warming. The area holds large reserves of oil and natural resources that in the past were prohibitively difficult to reach.

Previously, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has said that Russia plans to “tap Arctic fields using marine robots,” TASS reports.