U.S. Navy SEALs have to infiltrate and extract from some of the most hostile areas in the world, and many missions involve traveling underwater. The Mark 8 SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) has been used for decades for this purpose, and one group thinks they have the vehicle to replace it.
Proteus is a streamlined mini-sub that is the brainchild of Huntington Ingalls Underwater Solutions Group, Bluefin Robotics and Battelle. The "dual-mode" vehicle can operate manned or unmanned for a wide array of missions.
Proteus weighs just over 8,000 pounds, and can deliver at least six fully equipped frogmen to their
destination over a range of 350 to 700 miles depending on the batteries used. It has a top speed of 10 knots and cruises at 8 knots, and is equipped with multi-beam sonar for avoidance and navigation. It operates at a disclosed maximum unmanned depth of 200 feet, or 150 feet with divers on-board.
The fact that Proteus can operate autonomously is a dynamic capability to ponder as it opens up a wide new concept of operations while still filling the same logistics footprint as the SEAL Swimmer Delivery Vehicle.
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