Military and Police

Navy SEALs and the ‘Mothership’ Submarine Concept

The U.S. Navy is hard at work developing new underwater attack concepts for its elite commandos. The novel naval tactic revolves around the development of new underwater vessels which the SEALs expect to be ready by the end of next year. The new submersibles revolutionize the approach and strike methods used by the SEALs and other marine commandos.

SEALs have ridden in small submersibles to sneak into hostile territory for decades. But this new system is a step up.

Here’s how it’s expected to work: A specially outfitted submarine, dubbed the “mothership,” will carry two types of miniature submarines. The first, the Shallow Water Combat Submersible (SWCS) will haul six or more naval commandos near the surface and across relatively short distances. The SWCS, which weighs approximately 10,000 pounds, will replace older Mark 8 Seal Delivery Vehicles (SDVs). The second sub, called the Dry Combat Submersible, will carry six individuals much farther and at greater depths. The most recent DCS prototype weighs almost 40,000 pounds and can travel up to 60 nautical miles while 190 feet below the waves. The mothership will carry several of these mini-subs within striking range of enemy shores.

Militaries have been playing with the mothership concept for years. Over a decade ago, the U.S. Navy spoke of plans to modify Ohio-class subs to be dry docks for mini underwater vehicles. Last year, a French military contractor unveiled a schematic of a largely automated mothership submarine designed to carry a wide range of unmanned ships.

As far as commandos are concerned, implementing the mothership idea will allow operators to begin their approach to targets with more stealth and from further distances. It will also allow them to reach their destinations more quickly, and with more navigational accuracy.

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Samuel Siskind

Samuel Siskind studied intelligence research at the American Military University in West Virginia. He served as a squad commander in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Corp of Combat Engineers, in the Corps' ground battalions and later in its Intelligence Wing at regional and divisional stations. For the past five years, Samuel has worked as a consultant and researcher on physical and information security issues for private and governmental institutions, in the US, Africa, India, and Israel. He currently lives in Jerusalem.

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