Lockheed Martin builds “missile sub” to carry the US Special Forces underwater
Lockheed Martin’s Submergence group just announced a $166 million contract to supply the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) with a new class of combat submersibles. Operated by pilot and navigator, this 30-ton missile sub is meant to carry Special Forces scuba divers into battle. A team of six divers will be carried to an underwater location in an absolutely dry environment. The sub can launch the dive team through an onboard airlock system once it arrives its drop point.
“The dry, one-atmosphere environment of these vehicles provides an alternative to traditional wet submersibles being used by the U.S. and international Special Forces communities today,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement, “and will deliver operators to their destination in better physical condition to complete a mission.”
As the Daily Mail reports, Lockheed Martin is currently manufacturing three of the subs, with a depth rating of 328 feet and a lock-out depth of 98 feet. It will have a top speed of 5 knots (about 6 mph), which won’t make it the fastest thing underwater, but it surely reduces the missions overall swim time, as well as delivers an upgrade over the pen, wet submersibles currently used by Special Forces teams.
Lockheed Martin says the platform is going to be based on the existing S301i dry manned submersible and will comprise a Doppler Velocity Log for navigation support, an Inertial Navigation System, obstacle avoidance sonar and fathometer, as well as an Underwater Telephone and UHF radio for communications. Also, support for additional sensors will be included as particular missions require.
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