The US Navy’s long-gestating efforts to bolster the safety and effectiveness of its special operations personnel on waterborne missions is gathering speed. Lockheed Martin is the industry lead on contract to US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), to deliver up to three manned, dry combat submersibles (DCS). “We’re on track to deliver the first vehicle to USSOCOM in February 2019,” Ronald “Murray” Gero, the Lockheed Martin DCS programme manager told the author and added, “USSOCOM just awarded us a contract for vehicle two and we expect to get a contract for the third vehicle in early 2019.”
Lockheed Martin is teamed with Submergence Group, LLC of Chester, Connecticut and its wholly owned subsidiary MSubs of Plymouth, England, the latter of which will complete initial construction. Another industry partner Germanischer Lloyd of Hamburg, Germany, will finish building the submersibles. “We’ll then bring it Palm Beach County, Florida to finish the final outfitting, systems integration and testing,” Mr. Gero concluded.
DCS will replace US Navy Mk8 Seal Delivery Vehicles.
Lockheed Martin’s DCS will support two operators (pilot and navigator) and up to six swimmers with the ability to lock them out and in. The dry, warmer one-atmosphere environment of these vehicles provides an alternative to traditional wet, colder submersibles being used by the US special forces communities today and will deliver operators to their destination in better physical condition to complete a mission. With over 50 years of manned submersible experience, Lockheed Martin will continue to advance underwater submersible technology to improve inspection and combat capability, and operational safety.