Dry Combat Submersible

Last updated
The prototype Dry Combat Submersible
Class overview
Builders: Lockheed Martin
Planned: 3 [1]
Building: 2 [1]
General characteristics
Type: Submersible
Displacement: 28 tonnes
Length: 12 metres (39 ft)
Beam: 2.4 metres (7.9 ft)
Draft: 2.4 metres (7.9 ft)
Propulsion: Electric motors, lithium-ion batteries
Speed: 5 knots (5.8 mph; 9.3 km/h)
Range: 60 nautical miles (69 mi; 110 km)
Endurance: 24 hours
Test depth: 100 metres (330 ft)
Complement: 2 crew, 8 SEALs
Sensors and
processing systems:
Sonar, fathometer

The Dry Combat Submersible (DCS) is a midget submarine designed and manufactured for USSOCOM by MSubs Ltd, a UK company located in Plymouth, Devon. MSubs are an underwater R&D company that have built a number of specialist unmanned and manned submersibles, primarily for the US DoD. MSubs is wholly owned by Submergence Group LLC, a small Texas based company that provides the linkages into the DOD and is responsible for contract support, most notably operator training. Due to the nature of the contract Lockheed Martin were nominated as the prime contractor with Submergence Group as the sub contractor. With the exception of a limited amount of Government Furnished Equipment (GFE), manufacture, assembly and initial sea trials all take place in the UK. DCS is designed for use by the United States Navy SEALs for insertion on special operations missions. It will replace the canceled Advanced SEAL Delivery System and will serve alongside the Shallow Water Combat Submersible. [2] As the name suggests, the Dry Combat Submersible has a dry interior, enabling longer mission durations in colder water. The DCS is designated the S351 Nemesis. [3]


Lockheed Martin and the Submergence Group were awarded the $166 million, 5-year contract to develop and build three DCSs in June 2016. By 2018, the total spent on the submersibles rose to $236 million. [4]


The Dry Combat Submersible is 12 metres (39 ft) long and has a beam and height of 2.4 metres (7.9 ft). [4] [1] The submersible weighs 14 tonnes (31,000 lb) fully loaded and has a displacement of 28 tonnes (62,000 lb). [5] It can be transported in a standard 40-foot shipping container. [3] The DCS has a crew of two–a pilot and a co-pilot/navigator–and carries eight fully equipped SEALs. [1] The DCS has three dry, pressurized sections: a fore transport compartment for carrying troops, an amidships swimmer lock-in/lock-out compartment, and an aft command center where the pilot and co-pilot operate the sub. [3]

Though its exact performance remains classified, the DCS is stated to have a maximum depth rating of 100 metres (330 ft) and Lock In and Out maximum depth of 30 metres (98 ft). Its batteries give it a range of 60 nautical miles (110 km; 69 mi) at a speed of 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph), [4] although its maximum speed is not public. Lockheed Martin claims that the DCS has an endurance greater than 24 hours, triple that of the current SEAL Delivery Vehicle and twice that of the Shallow Water Combat Submersible the DCS will serve alongside. [5]

Unlike its predecessor, the Dry Combat Submersible will be deployed from surface ships rather than from larger submarines. [1] Surface ships will lower it into the water with a crane or deploy it from an opening in the bottom of their hulls. However, the Navy plans to study integrating the DCS with a larger submarine will begin in FY2020. [6] The DCS' main advantage over its predecessors is its dry environment, which enables SEALs to undertake longer missions in colder water and be more combat-ready when they deploy. [7] Another advantage is that the SEALs can communicate more easily in the DCS than in previous wet submarines, where they had to rely on intercoms and could not see each other. [7] SEALs deploy from the DCS in diving gear and swim the rest of the way to their target. [1]

The DCS' navigational systems include an inertial navigation system and Doppler Velocity Log. The sensor suite consists of sonar and a fathometer, although additional sensors can be added depending on mission requirements. The communications equipment includes an underwater telephone and UHF radio. [5]


The Dry Combat Submersible has been developed from MSub's existing S302 mini-sub, which is itself an improved version of the S301i. Both the S302 and S301i are produced for export by MSubs in collaboration with the Submergence Group. The S301i is capable of fitting in the dry deck shelters used on larger American and British submarines, although the S302 and the DCS are larger than the S301i and so cannot fit in dry deck shelters. [5] [8] The design and requirements for the DCS were initially formulated by the U.S. Special Operations Command as early as 2014, although the technology to make the DCS did not catch up to the requirements until more recently. [6]

The first lithium-ion batteries for the DCS were delivered to the Navy by General Atomics in February 2018. [9]

As of July 2019, the first of the subs is undergoing advanced sea trials in the US with the second in production in the UK [10] Delivery of all three submersibles is expected to take place by January 2022. [11]

See also

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