Elite SEAL commandos will get to enjoy a new toy soon in the shape of an enclosed, roomy minisubmarine. The Navy has been in the market for a new Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (or SDV — also known as a SEAL Delivery Vehicle) for a while now, though the latest effort, the ASDS — the Advanced SEAL Delivery System — was plagued by problems and ran way over budget. The SEALs reverted back to using the Mark 8 SDVs they've used since the '70s.
The problem with the trusty Mark 8, though, is that it's an open system, meaning the SEALs aren't in a dry environment. Sure, it gets them where they're going faster and keeps them underwater, but spending hours underwater doesn't do wonders for the body and SEALs are sent on difficult missions.
The answer actually came from a company that sells research submarines. Those are the humble roots of the S301 SDV (pictured above), which has been modified to act as a platform for a team of Navy SEALs on a combat mission, and keep them dry until they deploy. The S301 can ferry two pilots and six swimmers, or a combination of that with some gear — such as inflatable boats and underwater robots — mixed in.
The best part? It's costing the Navy a fraction of what the ASDS was, though we hope they spend a little more money at least, if only to spray paint it a more threatening, less visible color.
Via The Register