As the Pentagon shifts its gaze from low-intensity conflicts to nation-level adversaries, the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is following suit, and the Navy SEAL teams are eager to prove their strategic utility in the rediscovered domain.
SOCOM and the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) are focusing their efforts on two underwater craft: a Shallow Water Combat Submersible (SWCS) and a Dry Combat Submersible (DCS). The former is intended to replace the MK-8, Mod 1 SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV).
The DCS will enable frogmen to stay warmer throughout their insertion to the target, which would translate into less fatigued SEALs and thus more combat-effectiveness. But the SWCS will enable SEALs to navigate littoral waters easier. Consequently, the choice of which platform to employ in an operation would depend on the environment and the objectives.
Capt. Katherine Dolloff, SOCOM’s program executive officer for maritime systems, said to National Defense, the “SWCS brings increased payload and range, updated sensors, an improved navigation system and a modernized command-and-control architecture to permit the rapid integration of new technologies.”