Enhancing Special Operations Forces Capability by Prioritising Equipment Performance, Safety and Reliability
- Date: 14th October 2020
- Company: JFD
Deploying maritime Special Operations Forces (SOF) has always presented significant challenges. These challenges are further compounded when insertion and extraction is undertaken at sea over long distances. In today’s geopolitical environment the response to evolving threats demands a rapid response capability. As a consequence, more than ever, SOF requires reliable, safe and rapidly deployable advanced technology with integrated solutions to ensure they are able to complete their mission efficiently and effectively. To optimise capability, reduce operational risk and enhance mission success, all potential operational eventualities must be considered. The performance of the equipment necessary to support these eventualities must therefore meet the very highest standards of safety and reliability as once submerged, the life of the SOF Operator is literally dependent upon it.
Crossing the ‘water-gap’ over large distances has typically been undertaken by small raiding craft, which although discrete, are not covert and are readily detected with modern surveillance systems when in the operational arena. To maximise compromise mitigation, numerous maritime SOF have employed Swimmer Deliver Vehicles (SDVs); free flooding submersible crafts that remain submerged throughout the operation. Despite being covert, such systems are relatively slow and place significant physiological and psychological stress upon the Operator, who might be submerged for extended periods in cold water.
To enable rapid surface insertion and extraction beyond the surveillance horizon, together with a covert sub-surface capability, JFD offers the SEAL Carrier. This advanced operationally proven multi-mode craft fulfils today’s maritime SOF requirements for a safe, covert and reliable means of rapidly transporting Operators over long distances on the surface and sub-surface. Readily deployed by land, sea or air, SEAL Carrier is not dependent upon fleet submarines to serve as a ‘mother craft’ providing Commanders and operational planners the very highest levels of operational flexibility.
JFD’s SEAL Carrier is an eight-man high speed surface planing free flooding submersible which operates in three modes; surface, semi-submerged and submerged. At the surface it can transit at speeds of up to 30 knots before switching to semi-submerged and finally submerged mode for a final covert approach at 4 knots. Integrated advanced on board sensors, navigation, life support and communication suites work together to minimise Operator, and Crew, fatigue providing safe and accurate positioning day and night both above or below the surface of the water, regardless of vehicle speed or environmental conditions.
In addition to SEAL Carrier, for shorter range subsurface insertion and extraction operations, JFD offers a range of smaller submersible vehicles such as the Torpedo SEAL, also readily deployed by land, sea or air.
Development, testing and trials of JFD’s submersible vehicles initially took place in the Stockholm archipelago, Baltic Sea and the waters off the West coast of Scotland, UK. These temperate and sub-arctic climates demonstrate their functionality in low temperature waters. Recent enhancements and intensive testing have now conclusively demonstrated vehicle performance in environments at the other end of the environmental spectrum such as the tropics.
Using unrivalled submarine engineering expertise, combined with maritime SOF operational experience, JFD ensures those working under the toughest environmental conditions have high performance free flooding manned submersible vehicles that are designed, built and tested to the highest industry related safety standards.
In addition to the submersible vehicles and to facilitate the full mission profile, JFD offers ‘state of the art’ Underwater Life Support Systems that include long endurance rebreathers, both mechanical and electronically controlled. This complete mission capability can include a comprehensive through life integrated support package that optimises capability availability throughout the operational life of the equipment.