The U.S. Navy has finally achieved operational capability with its new Dry Combat Submersible (DCS), a mini-submarine designed to transport SEALs while keeping them dry. Developed in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, the DCS allows occupants to traverse to their destination submerged, but without being immersed in water. This capability, long-sought by the Navy, reduces operator fatigue and potential health risks associated with long-duration exposure to often frigid underwater conditions.
- The Dry Combat Submersible (DCS) entered operational service in May, after being developed in partnership with Lockheed Martin. Two units have been delivered so far, with a third one under production.
- The DCS is based on the S351 Nemesis mini-submarine design from MSubs in the United Kingdom, featuring an all-electric propulsion system with a maximum range of 66 nautical miles and the ability to dive up to 330 feet.
- Unlike previous SEAL delivery vehicles, the DCS provides a pressurized environment for occupants, significantly reducing the risks associated with prolonged exposure to cold underwater temperatures. It also includes a self-contained lock-in/lock-out chamber.
- The mini-submarine’s size, however, limits its deployment capabilities. It cannot currently be launched from existing submarines due to its size. The DCS has to be deployed via a surface mothership, such as an amphibious warfare vessel.
- The Navy has plans for a follow-up DCS design, which they hope to be deployable from a Virginia class attack submarine. The improved design is anticipated to dock externally on the hull of its mothership submarine.