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New details on secret Navy SEAL mini-submersible revealed

A Dry Combat Submersible, manufactured for U.S. Special Operations Command, departs from Lockheed Martin’s Palm Beach, Florida facility. (Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin)
August 08, 2023

A new mini-submarine vessel capable of transporting NAVY SEALs long distances underwater recently reached initial operational capability.

The Dry Combat Submersible (DCS) is a mini-submarine that is capable of launching from a Navy submarine and transporting Navy SEALs to various destinations, representing a significant breakthrough in the Acquisition Category III program.

In a press release from Lockheed Martin, Gregg Bauer, C6ISR vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin, announced the initial success of the NCS, stating, “The Dry Combat Submersible has the potential to transform undersea warfare for special operators.”

The Lockheed Martin general manager explained that the DCS enables “safe, clandestine delivery” for occupants over long distances in a completely dry environment.” Bauer noted that the DCS is equipped with a lock-in and lock-out chamber.

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“Occupants arrive at the mission warm, rested, hydrated and ready, making this vessel a key advantage in mission success,” he said.

The Lockheed Martin press release explained that U.S. Special Forces will eventually be able to utilize the DCS to travel long distances underwater without needing a wetsuit and without being “exposed to the elements.” The vessel’s lock-in and lock-out technology will allow service members to enter and exist the submersible while it is underwater and undetectable.

According to the Department of Defense, the DCS is roughly 40-feet long and is capable of transporting up to eight special operators. The underwater vehicle is powered by batteries and operated by two pilots.

The DCS is currently being developed in Palm Beach, Florida. According to Lockheed Martin’s press release, sustainment operations for the submersible vessel will involve training for pilots and special operators, logistics support following the delivery of the vessels, lifecycle support for the DCS, and additional training equipment.

“The Lockheed Martin team is proud of the work that has gone into the development and delivery of DCS and supporting USSOCOM to this IOC milestone,” Jason Crawford, senior program manager for Manned Combat Submersibles, said. “We look forward to delivering the third DCS and supporting DCS into Full Operating Capacity, filling a critical gap for USSOCOM.”