The Navy SEALs are perhaps the most famous special forces team in the United States. They are responsible for carrying out covert and challenging missions all over the world. The Special Operations Command, or SOC, has constantly been at work looking to give the SEALs every advantage possible. Former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb has spoken out on the SEAL’s innovative techniques.
Lately, they’ve focused on developing technology to do with underwater communication. Radio Frequency is unable to travel underwater, so communication can be limited at times.
The Special Operations Command have looked at the communication issue in depth. They have to weigh factors such as distance and data transfer before weighing the best approach in developing maritime technology.
Jim Knudson, a program manager for SOCOM, hopes that the network will connect NAVY SEAL divers to each other as well as individuals on the surface. This increases in importance as divers are going deeper than ever before. They also are frequently working within colder waters, which increases the need for clear communication.
They’ve looked at developing a small device that can be worn on the body and help an individual’s communication and awareness.
SOCOM has focused on developing smaller items. A bulkier communication device may be too clunky to actually be of any use. They’re hoping to use such a device to also use locational GPS to track their drivers.
SOCOM has also reached out to private companies and academia to aid in developing maritime communication technology.
Power and Energy
Additionally, they’ve also worked with PEO maritime in developing technology drawing from alternative sources of energy.
Navy divers are often transported on submarines, which has provided another challenge.
PEO has been trying to develop a safe, high-capacity battery to provide energy for many of the devices a diver carries with them. Unfortunately, Lithium-ion batteries come with safety challenges and cannot be carried in submarines.
Both the Navy and Air Force carry a set of standards for what’s allowed on their vessels. Developing a safe, high-energy battery has been one of the department’s more important projects as of late.
PEO Maritime is also working to improve the way in which divers and other operators are transported underwater. SOCOM is undergoing a replacement process for the SDV MK 8. It will be replaced by a free-flooding manned vehicle known as the SWCS. SWCS stands for shallow water combat submersible.
Teledyne Brown Engineering has worked with SOCOM on the SWCS project. The SWCS will be able to carry more weight over longer distances in shallow water regions.
Dry Deck Shelters
SOCOM has also been at work renovating dry deck shelters. These shelters serve as an underwater garage for Navy underwater vehicles and equipment. The dry deck shelters are typically found on Ohio-class submarines, but soon will also be available on Virginia-class ships.
Additionally, PEO and SOCOM are working to develop this technology to also minimize their “signature”. The SEALs are constantly managing the ways in which they leave a trail. This can be either through infrared, radar, or electro-optical means. Much of the technology by SOCOM has kept Navy SEALs and other Special Armed Forces safe for many years.