Lockheed Martin, an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company, is working in partnership with Submergence Group LLC to develop the next generation of Dry Combat Submersibles (DCS) for the U.S. Special Operations Command. The new contract is for 3 submersibles and is reported to be worth $166 million.
The new subs will be able to transport up to 6 Special Forces soldiers, plus a pilot and navigator, into combat. The submersibles will house the divers in a single atmosphere environment, so they won’t be exposed to the water en route, resulting in greater duration for the divers and a greater range for the sub. While inside, operators will be able to use an Underwater Telephone and UHF radio for communications with surface personnel.
The new DCS will be a significant upgrade to the current swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV), and Lockheed Martin claims that it will have a longer endurance and have the capability to operate in deeper waters. The current “swimmer delivery vehicles” used by the Navy’s elite special forces require them to wear scuba gear the entire time, because they’re exposed to the sea itself.
While the specifics of the new project have not been released, commercially available Dry Manned Submersibles already being developed by Lockheed Martin have a depth rating of 100 meters (328 feet), can operate for up to 24-hours before running low on air, have a range of around 45 nautical miles, and carry enough fuel to go 70 miles. The vehicles come with an Inertial Navigation System (INS) and Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) for navigation support, an Underwater Telephone (UWT) and UHF radio for communications, and an obstacle avoidance sonar and fathometer. Additional sensors can be added to support specific mission requirements.