Lewis Page discovers that the latest minisub for the US Navy’s SEAL teams is actually made in Britain:
A groundbreaking new miniature submarine in use by the US Navy’s secretive, elite frogman-commando special operations force was actually designed and built in old Blighty, the Reg can reveal.
We reported first on the S301 mini-sub two weeks ago, noting from federal documents that the famous US Navy SEALs had leased a demonstration model for “doctrinal, operational, and organizational purposes”. This was followed up last week by the Honolulu Advertiser, which had spoken to Submergence Group, the American firm listed by the US government as provider of the S301.
It emerged that the S301 — now in trials with the SEALs in Hawaii — had cost just $10m to develop, which contrasted especially well with the $885m+ spent on the ill-fated Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS).
The ASDS, from US defence behemoth Northrop Grumman, had been intended to supersede the SEALs’ current Mark 8 Mod 1 minisubs, which are carried in a “Dry Deck Shelter” (DDS) airlock docking bay fitted to a full-sized US Navy nuclear submarine — either a normal attack boat or an Ohio-class dedicated Stingray-style special-ops mothership. The Ohios, nuclear missile subs retired from their old job under arms-reduction treaties, have space aboard for a large force of SEALs and pack a powerful armament of conventional-warhead cruise missiles for precision shore bombardment.