A Wholphin is an extremely rare hybrid, born from a mating of a female common bottlenose dolphin with a male false killer whale.
Continuing the prestigious SEAL Delivery Vehicle Mk.VIII Mod 1/2 lineage, the Wholphin SDV X-2 is the latest Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV) from Huntington Ingralls (formerly The Columbia Group).
In sophistication terms the design sits between the SDV Mk.VIII Mod2 / Dolphin SDV X-1 and the more advanced (and expensive) Proteus optionally-crewed SDV. It is in a sense a hybrid of the Dolphin and the Proteus (analogous to a killer whale in the SDV world).
Vehicle Weight (empty):3213kg
Speed:9.5kt max, 8.0kt cruising
Range / Endurance: 101nm @ 7kt (14.5hrs), 78nm @ 8kt (9.7hrs), 69nm @ 8.5kt (8.1hrs), 61nm @ 9.0kt (6.8hrs), 55nm @ 9.5kt (5.8hrs)
Crew: 2 (pilot, copilot) + 6 passengers
Divers Air Stations: 8
Cargo: 1448kg (in air), 4.81m3
Battery: Lithium -Polymer (150kW-hrs)
Propeller: Aluminum Hub with Carbon-fiber Blades, 1m diameter
Hull : Aluminum frame with Composite outer
Variable Ballast Capacity:249kg Obstacle Avoidance Sonar: Kongsberg SM2000
Through Water Communications: OTS UTEL
Diver’s Intercom:OTS Hard wire
Navigation: Integrated IXSEA Phins& RDI Doppler
Mast: pneumatically operated
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The immediate predecessor of the Wholphin, the Dolphin Class Swimmer Delivery Vehicle (SDV X-1) was developed in the 2000s as a US export type based on the SDV Mk.VIII Mod-1 Gator Class SDV in service with the USN SEALs. Although the type is in many respects more modern than the M.VIII (and any comparative disadvantages are purely down to export restrictions), it is slightly too large for existing USN Dry Deck Shelters (DDS) the has not adopted it for its SDV replacement program. The Dolphin has however been exported in substantial numbers with Egypt reportedly receiving some 36 craft.
Displacement: 2.6 tons
Speed: 9kts max, 5kts cruise
Endurance: 50 nautical miles
Maximum Operating depth: 69m
Maximum Transit depth: 91m
Personnel: 2 crew plus 6-8 passengers
The Dolphin is equipped with two large liquid crystal displays with color moving maps and digital read-outs.
Construction consists of an aluminium frame with fibreglass shell. The reduction in battery size relative to the SDV Mk.VIII allows the crew to sit on top of the battery trays, freeing up space for stores and allowing up to eight passengers, twice the capacity of the original Mk.VIII. This optimizes the Dolphin for over-the-beach transport missions.
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