Marines: November 6, 2002

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The navy SEAL commandos want new boats to get them to enemy shores. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) is buying six ASDS (Advanced Seal Delivery Systems.) These are 65 foot long submarines. Each weighs 55 tons and can carry 8-16 SEALs (depending on how much equipment is brought along.) The ASDS has a range of 200 kilometers at about 14 kilometers an hour, and can be launched from another submarine, a surface ship or from land. ASDS is battery powered and has a crew of two (pilot and navigator.) The current mini-sub requires the SEALs to wear scuba gear, has a much shorter range and is basically a slow torpedo that can carry passengers. The ASDS has had problems in testing, particularly with battery life. The first ASDS is costing nearly $250 million, with subsequent boats costing less than half that. There is nothing radically new about the ASDS, the Russians have had similar mini-subs for decades. SOCOM also wants to build a mini-ASDS, that will perform like an underwater scooter for one (or a few) SEALs in scuba gear. This is another idea that goes back to World War II, when the Italian pioneered this kind of vehicle.

 


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