SOFIC 2017: SOF Calls for Immersive Sub Trainer
Naval representatives assigned to US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) have identified a need for a new immersive environment for use with the new Dry Combat Submersible.
According to Cdr Keith Oswald, program manager for undersea systems in the USSOCOM Program Executive Office for Maritime, the Dry Combat Submersible is the primary focus for that office.
The contract for that programme was awarded under a full and open competition to Lockheed Martin (prime), supported by subcontractors Submergence Group and UK-based MSUBS (builder) in July 2016.
‘The key warfighting capability that vehicle delivers is that it is able to keep the SEALs out of the harsh undersea environment during the transits to and from their objective area,’ Oswald explained. ‘That helps ensure that we provide SEALs that are fresher and more physically capable to conduct those mission critical taskings that we ask them to do.’
Programme cost control measures include leveraging of commercial standards, with one result being that the vehicle will initially be surface launched only.
There is currently one boat under contract with options for up to two more. Delivery of the first submersible is expected in July 2018 with Initial Operational Capability planned for 3rd quarter of FY’19.
‘The technology areas from an undersea perspective that we are most interested in include immersive training,’ Oswald said. ‘It is demanding on the operators and, from a resource perspective, you always have to take the vessel out to go out and train.
'If there is a type of immersive training environment that allows the operators to get an 80 or 90 or 95 percent feel for what it’s like to practice driving or maintaining the boat, without actually having to put it in the water, that is a tremendous training asset to us – and not just on land but also when they are in a deployed condition waiting to conduct their mission, they can continue to train and to rehearse in this immersive environment and closely feel like they are really there in the mission until it’s time to actually go and pull the trigger.'
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