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SEAL Delivery Vehicles

JFD gives MONCh an overview of its latest technological development

At Sea Air Space 2018, MONCh paid a visit to JFD Global at their stand in the UK Innovation Area to discuss with them the latest developments the company has been working on.

Firstly, following-up on an article published last year in Naval Forces Issue IV/2017 on submarine rescue vehicles (‘Deep Sea Rescue’) and to which JFD contributed, MONCh enquired regarding the company’s third generation Flyaway Submarine Rescue System. Ben Sharples, Business Executive Director, indicated that the company has sold two of its third generation systems to India: “The first one will be arriving in Mumbai this week, while the second one should be delivered by the third quarter of 2018.” These are the first third generation submarine rescue systems to be delivered by JFD and the company has been training Indian Navy crew since 2017 in preparation for this arrival. This has included giving them exposure to the system through previous generation vehicles and using commercial submersibles. “More training will be taking place this year on the actual system,” continued Mr Sharples. A number of Asian nations are looking at acquiring this system as a result of the submarine race currently taking place in the region.

Staying below the surface, Mr Sharples introduced MONCh to the company’s special forces vehicles. The swimmer delivery systems have been built in different sizes in order to be able to come out of submarines either via torpedo tubes or through the hatches purposefully designed in the new generation submarines. Variants include the Torpedo SEAL, which has room for two divers with combat gear and mission essential equipment to be transported inside the hull protected from the streaming water, and the Sub SEAL, which is primarily launched from a hangar attached to the casing of a submarine and released whilst fully submerged at depths up to 30msw; these can accommodate eight personnel. Currently JFD has sold a number of these vehicles, however the company expects to be able to sell 20 in the coming years.

Additionally, JFD Global has also developed the SEAL Carrier, an 8-man (two crews and six divers) swimmer delivery vehicle designed for the covert insertion and extraction of combat diver units. It can operate on the surface, semi-submerged and submerged. “We are also working with Airborne Systems so that the SEAL Carriers can be launched from an airplane such as a C130,” indicated Mr Sharples. Because of the nature of the operations they are designed for, the Carriers have a very low magnetic signature, “as do the rebreathers that JFD can sell along with the Carriers for the crews onboard to wear when submerged,” says Mr Sharples. The payload for these vehicles varies according to customer requirements, but Mr Sharples indicated that they have already been tested with unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and mini torpedoes onboard. They are also scalable: the SMART SEAL is a shorter version of the SEAL Carrier. These vehicles have been sold to Far East and European Navies.

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