Rotinor BlackShadow and Divejet DPVs


Flag Rotinor's Diver Propulsion Vehicles (DPVs) are widely used within the Special Forces community and represent a major player in the market with over 20 customers. Although innovative and high-tech, these craft represent rapidly maturing technology and are noted for the high underwater speed. The craft are produced by German company Rotinor (website: Rotinor) and marketed worldwide.

A customer list is beyond the scope of this article (SF do not advertise current capabilities) but declared operators include:

  • US Navy SEALs
  • Irish Army Ranger Wing
  • Spanish FGNE
  • Russian Spetsnaz
  • Italian COMSUBIN
  • Greek DYK
  • Japanese SBU (TBC)
  • Brazilian Navy GRUMEC

It is certain that other elite units operate this family of DPVs.
Rotinor DPV
Special Forces divers from the Spanish FGNE unit haul a Divejet 414 ashore. Photo: Spanish Gov.

The secret to the craft's blistering performance is the patented E-Jet pump-jet which runs through the center of the craft. It is described as "the electric jet stream system works on the principle of water displacement. Water is sucked in by the powerful rotating impeller and forced out in the jet channel under high pressure." - so basically an electric pumpjet. This also allows a high level of power control which enables better control over endurance and speed than many of its competitors.
Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPV
Patent illustrations of the E-Jet.

Divejet RD2
Rotinor DPV
The latest model is the improved Divejet RD2. (Previous Divejet model was 414, see separate entry below). Significant improvements over the earlier Divejet model include ambidextrous controls, easier charging and lighter weight making it easier to man-handle the vehicle out of the water.

Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPV

Length : 1.15 m
Beam : 0.57m
Height : 0.37m
Weight : 35 kg
Endurance : 2+ hours, 5.4 nm
Thrust : 412 N (42 kg)
Power : 2.5 kW (3.4 HP)
Charging time : 2 hours (approx.)
Maximum diving depth : 60 m (197 ft)
Performance : 4 kt

The Divejet RD2 can be para-dropped with the diver, or carried in the torpedo tube of a submarine:
Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPVs can also be carried in deck shelters on the back of submarines.

Blackshadow 730
Rotinor DPV
The main military product, the BlackShadow 730 (aka SBS730) is a straightforward diver transport utilizing the firm's patented 'E-jet' underwater jetski style drive. Fitted with Lithium-Ion batteries the motor puts out 7hp, which is much more than many earlier SDVs. Considering it's barely 5% of the weight of even an older generation two-man SDV, the performance potential is staggering. The E-jet is almost silent and emission-free. It can come with optional extras such as military-spec navigation.

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Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPV
BlackShadow 730 DPV with two-man towing frame. Note that the second diver is in the slipstream of the first.

Length: 1.76 meters
Beam: 0.47 meters
Weight (out of water): 110kg (242lb)
Speed: Maximum 6.2 kts submerged
Maximum depth: 60m (note that SF divers can not operate at these depths in relevant operational settings)
Endurance : 3hr 15min at 50% power, 2hrs 10min at 70%.
Operational range: 11nm (20km)
Crew: 1 or 2

German parachute equipment company ATASS make the Trident parachute harness. The DPV would be released before the parachutist hit the water (or ground).
Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPV

Divejet 414
Rotinor DPV
A Russian Spetsnaz diver based in Crimea demonstrates a Rotinor Divejet 414. Photo from Russian MOD calendar 2017.

The BlackShadow 730's little brother, the Divejet 414 (aka SD414) has almost all the same characteristics but a much smaller battery which allows much more compact size but nearly halves the power output to 4hp. It is therefore slower and shorter ranged, but easier to manhandle which can be a major factor in some operational settings.
Rotinor DPV
Rotinor DPV
Divejet 414 DPV on display at a trade stand of French specialist supplier TR Equipments. Note its main rival, the US made Stidd DPD in the background

Length: 1.3 meters
Beam: 0.41 meters
Weight (out of water): 64kg (141lb)
Speed: Maximum 5.4 kts submerged
Maximum depth: 60m (note that SF divers can not operate at these depths in relevant operational settings)
Endurance : 3hr 15min at 50% power, 2hrs 10min at 70%.
Operational range: 6nm (10km)

Rotinor DPV
Spanish Fuerza de Guerra Naval Especial (FGNE) Special Forces show off some kit with Divejet in the background (on trolly).

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