Updated. Previous version 13th August 2016.
Patriot-3M diver propulsion
Patriot 3 Maritime (‘Patriot3M’) produces a range of diver propulsion products ranging from the widely known Jetboots, which are small thrusters which attach to the diver’s thighs, to the virtually unknown Kraken Sub-surface Multi-mission Vehicle.
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Kraken Sub-surface Multi-mission Vehicle (SMV)
The Kraken Sub-surface Multi-mission Vehicle (SMV) can operate in both manned (DPV – Diver Propulsion Vehicle) and unmanned (UUV - Unmanned underwater Vehicle) modes. This allows greater mission flexibility and new mission profiles including rendezvousing with divers for exfiltration or casualty evacuation, cargo ferrying and more reliable offshore dumping after the insertion of a cross-beach Special Forces team.
The vehicle was debuted at SOFIC (Special Operations Forces Industry Conference) in Tampa, FL, in 2018. It has high modularity which enables additional batteries for extended range, higher sustainable speeds and redundancy for safety.
The system utilizing a uniquely modified Shark Marine Navigator System and is controlled via articulating Bow Plane Thrusters and pivoting Rear Thrusters, which provides for both manned and unmanned (autonomous) operation.
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Diver Adaptable Autonomous Propulsion Vehicle (DAAPV)
The DAAPV was revealed at SOFIC 2016. In the crewed configuration the design is broadly equivalent to the STIDD DPD (diver propulsion device) and Rotinor DPVs. But it can operate without the pilot in a similar manner to the SharkMarine Mako.
The craft is powered by four electric thrusters with 120 lb thrust each. All four thrusters are steerable, potentially allowing limited position holding (‘hovering’). The battery pack is similar to the 50ah Lithium-Ion set on the company’s Jet boots.
In line with the industry trend for DPDs, the DAAPV uses a detachable Nav from SharkMarine instead of a control panel. This is likely the key to the automatous capabilities.
Special Forces technology is always a hotbed for innovations with new ideas and products cropping up all the time. One disruptive innovation is the Jeboots Diver Propulsion System (DPS). The idea of attaching thrusters directly to the diver or their equipment is not new with several attempts since the 1950s, but the intersection of modern technology and wearable electronics has suddenly made it possible. The main technological enablers are very compact, lightweight brushless motors for the thrusters, and compact and reliable Lithium Ion battery technology. Combined with some innovation concerning how to put them together on a diver, notably with the batteries in a flexible waistband, leads to a potentially game changing product.
Unlike other diver propulsion devices, Jetboots can be worn inside the SDV (Swimmer Deliver Vehicle), and can be worn while jumping from a helicopter or parachuting without the need to release them prior to entering the water. When in use they leave the combat diver completely hands-free which allows the use of NAV boards and other hand-held devices.
This makes weapons handling much easier and reduces the complexity of exiting the water during cross-beach insertions.
The device can be used in both salt and fresh water, where it is suitable for river crossing with strong currents. .
Wearing jetboots increases a diver’s range and allows them to arrive at their objective much fresher. The only real limitation is the modest speed. The limitation comes from the diver themselves, who are exposed to the full force of the oncoming water. Despite this the official specification states a top speed of 4kt. The system is therefore not a 1:1 replacement for SDVs and larger DPDs (Diver Propulsion Devices), but a complement and alternative to smaller hand-held DPVs (Diver Propulsion Vehicles) during the final stages of an insertion. And of course they have a general utility in diving missions.
SF divers emerge from the water. The Jetboots are barely noticible, which is not a bad thing. Image borrowed from www.apexglobal.eu
Patent illustration from 2002.
Dry Weight: 20 lbs with 30V, 16.7 Ah battery
Thrust: 0-50 lbs, fully variable
Speed: 0-4 knots
Range: 2-10 nm, depending on configuration
The compact brushless eletric thrusters are low-noise and lightweight
The sinmple on/off style controls are attached to the waist together with the batteries
Italian Special Forces divers from the legendary COMSUBIN unit test Jetboots
Patriot3 already have completion from similar designs, including the British X2 Jet Pack from SCP Marine. The leg position of the thrusters and other key design features are patented so similar systems are always quite different, and arguably inherently inferior (not that the inventors would see it that way!). The difference with the X2 system for example is that the thrusters are worn on the forearms. No competitors have anything like the market awareness of the original Jetboots however.
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