U.S. Special Operations Command and sub-maker Electric Boat have partnered up to develop a dry submersible mini-submarine designed to deliver Navy SEALs into hostile, high-threat areas beneath the surface of the ocean.
The 31-foot long underwater vehicle, called the User Operational Evaluation System 3, can carry as many as six people. It is currently being tested and developed through a three-year, $44 million contract with General Dynamics Electric Boat.
The idea with the dry submersible is to minimize risk and fatigue for special operations forces, such as SEALs, who are adept at quietly swimming into hostile areas to complete high-risk missions.
“Combat submersibles are used for shallow water infiltration and exfiltration of special operations forces, reconnaissance, resupply, and other missions in high threat, non-permissive environments,” Capt. Kevin Aandahl, SOCOM spokesman told Military.com.
The pressure hull and motor of the UOES 3 have already been built and are slated for key tests this coming June, Electric Boat officials said. Engineering plans call for the inclusion of a standard suite of submersible navigation systems, gyroscopes, sonar and obstacle avoidance technology, said Franz Edson, director, mission systems and business development, General Dynamics Electric Boat.