Officially known as the S302, the new sub will be based on the existing S301i.
The company that builds one of the world’s most advanced fighter jets, the F-35, has revealed that it has won a contract worth $166 million from the U.S. military in order to build a new “missile sub” which will carry U.S. Special Forces scuba divers into battle.
The 30-ton Swimmer Delivery Vehicle will be operated by a pilot and navigator and will carry a team of six divers to an underwater location in a completely dry environment. Once it reaches its drop off point, the mini sub can launch the dive team through an onboard airlock system.
“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, and will deliver operators to their destination in better physical condition to complete a mission,” wrote Lockheed Martin in a statement.
The Daily Mail has reported that the company is in the process of building three such prototypes, who will have a depth rating of 328 feet and a lock-out depth of 98 feet.
Although it will not be the fastest thing in the water, with its top speed of 6mph (5 knots), it however provides an upgrade to the wet submersibles that are being used by Special Forces. It will also reduce the mission’s overall swim time.
According to Lockheed Martin, the missile sub’s design will be based on the existing S301i dry manned sub and will include a Doppler velocity log naviguation, UHF and underwater telephony for communications, an Inertial Navigation System, a fathometer and an obstacle avoidance sonar.
The S302, (that’s its official name) will also naturally support additional sensors depending on the requirements of the specific mission.