British underwater vehicle manufacturer JFD has unveiled its new lightweight tactical diving vehicle to support naval special forces operations.
Dubbed “Shadow Seal,” the watercraft can operate in surface, semi-submerged, and submerged modes.
It can transport a pilot, navigator, and two passengers to a maximum range of 80 nautical miles.
The Shadow Seal was developed in collaboration with American partner Blue Tide Marine (BTM).
“We are excited to bring this collaborative effort of JFD and BTM to the subsea sector,” BTM President Bob Pudney said. “This multi-mission capable platform provides an opportunity to modernize the undersea capabilities of SOCOM (Special Operations Command), the US Navy, and other agency partners.”
JFD will deliver the diving vehicle to the Florida BTM facility for demonstration and training.
It's day one of SOF Week – we have had a very busy start to the show!
— JFD Global (@JFDGlobal) May 9, 2023
The Shadow Seal was originally developed by Dutch firm Ortega Submersibles, which was acquired by JFD in 2019.
With a new company taking over manufacturing, the vehicle underwent further development and rigorous trials leveraging JFD’s four-decade experience in the subsea domain.
The Shadow Seal now reportedly offers “unparalleled” underwater capabilities, including the maneuverability for naval special forces to covertly traverse littoral waters.
It has been configured to meet a variety of intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance requirements.
Additionally, the platform is designed to provide protection for complex, high-value platforms and critical infrastructure.
“The BTM partnership ensures that we can offer innovative solutions to modern day challenges, such as the current capability gap in littoral maneuver,” JFD managing director Rob Hales said.
Shadow Seal is currently undergoing final in-water and factory acceptance trials and harbor acceptance trials prior to delivery to BTM.