A pocket submarine
This entirely yellow submersible, while a little cumbersome, is highly appealing for its amusing appearance.
Submarine, Le Griffon, small yellow submersible, intervention submarine used for underwater bomb disposal, built in 1968, commissioned in 1974. Vessel scrapped by the French Navy, sold by designation.
The designer of the Griffon was probably a keen reader of the Adventures of Tintin, and a fan of the Beatles and their Yellow Submarine. This curvy little vessel like an inflated goldfish has a large porthole protected by a rail, giving it a hybrid look. Maybe this weird appendage is what makes it look like a griffin, a legendary animal half-lion, half-eagle. In its former life the device was used for bomb-disposal operations, diving expeditions to find ships sunk in the Mediterranean, and scientific location searches, as with the 1976 Poseidon operation, where the aim was to "accurately map the lower sea grass bed limit," according to Alexandre Meinesz, emeritus professor at the Université Côte d'Azur, in Nice. Another vessel was involved in this operation: the Triton. A sophisticated communication system kept them in touch during the operation. Mr Meinesz, the submarine pilot for this mission, says that "communications could be carried out with an ultrasound device underwater, and on the surface." Working in symbiosis, the Triton and the Griffon went down to observe the seabed and take readings of hitherto unrivalled precision. Other missions proved how manageable and reliable the Griffon was. After it was scrapped by the French Navy, other types of vessels succeeded it. The buyer could restore this Yellow Submarine to working order again, display it as a collector's piece or invent all kinds of unheard of uses for it.