By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
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June 14, 2012
While DefenseReview (DR) was exploring SOFIC 2012 in Tampa, we ran into one David Wilberding at the STIDD Systems/STIDD Military Submersibles booth, who directed us outside to see some of the company’s products in action, including the STIDD Diver Propulsion Device (DPD) and Diver Propulsion Device Dual Thruster (DPD-XT) submerible delivery vehicle/boat solutions for maritime/waterborne operations. So, we ran outside real quick and shot some photos and video down on the dock.
Actually, let me back up. When DR first got out there, there was a private meeting going on with U.S. military Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel, so a mid-level company representative initially barred us entry to STIDD’s dock/demo area. A higher-level STIDD representative then approached us and graciously gave us access to shoot the accompanying photos and video footage (below) while the meeting was still in progress.
Both the Standard DPD single-thruster and DPD-XT dual thruster utilize Tecnadyne “high-efficiency, lightweight brushless thrusters with a ducted KORT Nozzle propeller”, except the DPD-XT obviously employs two thruster/propeller systems and two Massive Unit Small Cell Lithium-Ion Energy
System (MUSCLES) batteries. The DPD-XT provides the following advantages over the standard DPD (from the STIDD 2012 catalog):
- 33% faster than the Standard DPD.
- Additional range.
- Redundant propulsion improves mission safety.
- Twin high-efficiency, low-noise direct-drive 26VDC thruster motors with high Bollard thrust KORT nozzles.
- Two Standard DPD “MUSCLES” Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries.
- Additional towing capacity: easily tows 3-4 divers with full load.
The only point of confusion for Defense Review is how the STIDD Dual Thruster DPD-XT submersible’s effective range stacks up agains the Standared DPD-Extended Range model’s effective range, since the latter utilizes a second high-capacity “MUSCLES” lithium-ion battery system, which effectively doubles the range of the Standard DPD submersible diver delivery vehicle.
The STIDD Standard DPD is made from hard-coat-anodized marine-grade aluminum alloy and weighs approx. 160 pounds (160 lbs) and can carry two fully-outfitted combat divers/swimmers and up to 100 pounds (100 lbs) of cargo at up to 3 knots (3kts) for for over two hours. Operational depth is over 80 meters (80m). The Standard DPD is NAVSEA 9310 certified, approved for U.S. Navy Use (ANU Listing), and is currently under contract to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), US Army, USSOCOM, and “many international SOF maritime units”.
All STIDD DPD submersible models may be fitted with a sophisticated electronic navigation system (Recon-Navigation System) with SONAR and Doppler velocity log (DVL) capabilities, and comes standard with a depth gauge, magnetic compass, and light stick tube for illumination of both instruments.
Apparently, SOCOM (USSOCOM) has given the DPD the unfortunate acronym “STD” for “Swimmer Transport Device”, “swimmer” as in combat swimmer. With a STIDD DPD/STD, a combat diver can swim farther and faster with much less energy expenditure in colder water during reconnaissance and attack missions in littoral and inland waterways, and can dwell longer. DPDs were initially acquired by the U.S. Navy to transport U.S. Navy SEAL assaulters/operators to and from the Advanced SEAL Delivery System (ASDS) “whenever the distance is too far for a quick swim”. According to USSOCOM, the STIDD DPD “met or exceeded all requirements established in the operational requirements document”. Special Operations Technology (SOTECH) published a piece on the DPD/STD in Volume3, Issue 2 (2005) titled “Divers Go Deep with Propulsion Devices” that’s worth reading.
Now, in 2012, SEALs will be able to engage the enemy with DSG/PNW MEA supercavitating underwater rounds after using a STIDD Standard DPD, Standard DPD-Extended Range, or Dual Thruster DPD-XT to transport himself and his buddies to the fight.
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