U.S. Special Operations Command will soon conduct a first-of-its-kind test off Hawaii — the launch and recovery of a new SEAL commando minisub from a Virginia-class submarine — as the elite and secretive force retools some of its undersea assets.
By William Cole
Two of the 22-foot SEAL Delivery Vehicle Mark 11s already were delivered to Hawaii for fleet familiarization and two more were undergoing government acceptance, Capt. Kate Dolloff, Special Operations Command’s maritime program executive officer, said at a mid-May industry conference. Ten are to be built.
SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 at Pearl Harbor has operated older Mark 8 delivery vehicles that are challenged “with technology obsolescence ” and are slated to be replaced one-for-one by the newer, slightly larger and 4, 000-pounds-heavier Mark 11s, the command said.
Each of the “next generation ” 10, 000-pound, free-flooding vehicles–which still require the use of wetsuits and scuba gear–carry two crew and four passengers and have better navigation and greater payload abilities. The submersibles are launched from watertight Dry Deck Shelters that are fitted to and connected with larger host submarines.
Mark 11 builder Teledyne Brown Engineering, awarded a $178 million sole-source contract in October, said the minisub, also known as the Shallow Water Combat Submersible, is “specifically designed to insert and extract Special Operations Forces in high-threat areas.” READ MORE HERE