Updated text on Mk.1D 9th June 2018
Latest Dutch Special Forces Swimmer Delivery Vehicles

Flag Dutch Swimmer Delivery Vehicles built by Ortega are based on the original World War Two ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (aka Motorised Submersible Canoe – MSC). The Sleeping Beauty was a small single-person boat designed to run for long distances on the surface, only submerging when it approached the target area. Despite the unambiguous influence, the Ortega designs add modern hydrodynamics and the latest technology to create a cutting-edge Special Forces vehicle.

The latest model, currently under testing, is the four-seat Mk.1D. Covert Shores has obtained exclusive photographs showing some of the enhancements over earlier models.

The Ortega Mk.1D has been designed specifically for a Defense customer. This is the maturing of the Ortega formula, with increased utility and improved ruggedness. Operational range is enough to comfortably perform over-the-horizon missions, and the reinforced hull allows it to be dragged up a beach or bottom-out on the sea floor. The design still features the characteristic highly sophisticated navigation and control technology which sets it apart..


The four-person craft has a high underwater cruising speed and long endurance, in addition to the surface mode. It also has the ability to stow away more than 450 litres of PAX under cargo hatches in the front and back.

Its Lithium-Ion batteries that have 5 times the energy density of regular lead-acid batteries. And the closed loop (i.e. no bubbles) trim system is upgraded to handle a variable underwater weight of 60kg.

Original artwork, click for HIGH-RESOLUTION:

It is powered by two high power rim-drive electrical motors which are reportedly extremely quiet.The open cockpits allow the Special Forces divers to easily enter and exit the vehicle. Ortega have worked on the design of the open cockpits using their own CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulator to calculate the water flow around the heads of the occupants. The small fins on the edge of the cockpits have been refined in such a way that they keep away all water pressure from the occupants, even when traveling at top speed. The aim is to keep the cockpits as open as possible while eliminating major sources of crew fatigue normally associated with this configuration.

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Ortega SDV

The divers wear Augmented Reality (AR) goggles to enhance situational awareness and reduce workload. Another innovation is that the boat is controlled by a 3D printed underwater Xbox style controller, making it very easy to drive.

Ortega SDV

I previously had a very interesting discussion with Ortega, and put some quick questons to them:

Q) The Ortega Mk.1 series is based on the WW2 Sleeping Beauty. What made you pick that specific type as a basis?
A) We really believe in the concept, sailing both on the surface and underwater. Next to that we upgraded the Sleeping Beauty with the latest technology.

Q) Does The Netherlands have any historic connection to the Sleeping Beauty? (I wasn't aware of one but I learn new things every day!)
A) As far as I know there is no historic link between the Netherlands and the original Sleeping Beauty.

Q) Was Ortega aware of or influenced by Italian submersible canoes from the Cold War? (e.g. TE one and two-man types)
A) We were aware of the Italian submersible canoes.

Q) The Sleeping Beauty was designed to travel most of its way to the target on the surface. Is that true of the Mk.1 and if so, what advantages does this entail?
A) We believe this is the biggest advantage of the design.

Q) Does the upright seating position limit underwater speed? - can the driver wear double hoses over the shoulder?
A) No it does not. The way we designed the boat the driver's position does not have any influence on the underwater speed.

Q) Do the hydroplanes fold-in for surface running in moderate seas?
A) Yes they do

Q)Are there plans for an enclosed version or other military considerations?
A)We always have plans for the future.

Q) What are the operational advantages of the Mk.1 over common DPVs?
A) The biggest advantages are the underwater speed and the travelling on the surface.

Q) I noticed that in the multi-person versions the cockpits are stepped. Why is that?
A) To give all passengers a clear view (in clear water)

Q) Are there plans for larger SDVs? Other designs?
A) We are always looking for new designs.

Thank you so much to Ortega for entertaining my curiosity!

Ortega SDV

Ortega Mk.1C 3-person SDV
Ortega SDV
An evolution of the original 1-person Mk.1C, the three-seat Mk.1C is intended for both military and civilian markets. It has additional payload capacity and higher performance.

Ortega SDV

Ortega SDV
Mk.1C with high-density battery

Length: 6.5m
Beam: 1.15m
Weight: 570 kg (operating weight)
Operating depth: 95m
Speed: 9kt surfaced, 11kt submerged
Range: 80nm
Payload: 350 liters
Crew/PAX: 3
Propulsion: 2 x 10KW electric motors

Check out the manufacturer's website Ortega Submersibles

The ultimate book of Special Forces subs Covert Shores 2nd Edition is the ONLY world history of naval Special Forces, their missions and their specialist vehicles. SEALs, SBS, COMSUBIN, Sh-13, Spetsnaz, Kampfschwimmers, Commando Hubert, 4RR and many more.
Check it out on Amazon

Ortega SDV
Ortega SDV

Ortega Mk.1A 1-person SDV
Ortega SDV
The original demonstrator for the Ortega concept, the single-seat Mk.1A bore the strongest resemblance to the World War Two ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

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Ortega SDV
Ortega SDV
Ortega SDV

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