USG Shows Off its Optionally-Manned Proteus Mini-Submarine

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Huntington Ingalls’ Undersea Solutions Group showed off its Proteus mini submarine at the Navy League’s 2015 Sea-Air-Space Exposition.

The potent-looking vessel can serve as a unmanned underwater vehicle or a manned swimmer-delivery system.
The battery-powered Proteus can carry six combat swimmers 350 to 700 nautical miles, depending on the type of battery used, according to USG officials.

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The wet sub measures 310 inches x 63.5 inches x 64 inches and weighs 8,240 pounds.

Proteus has a top speed of 10 knots. Undersea Solutions Group is the prime, working with Battelle and Bluefin Robotics on Proteus.

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About the Author

Matt Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at Military.com. He can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.
  • Fatman

    This has covert ops written all over it. Does it launch from a sub or carrier?

    • Kodai

      Looks like it would be lowered by crane, so likely it would operate from an amphibious assault ship.

      • blight_

        I suppose it could be winch-carried too, and gently lowered into the water?

    • Riceball

      Most likely scenario would be that it’s sub launched like the SEALs current SEAL Delivery Vehicle is. It piggy backs on an attack boat, the SEALs exit the sub and enter the SDV, I don’t see why it would be any different with this one.

  • Robbie

    Can you imagine 6 guys crammed into that dark, cold, narrow, flooded tube, breathing thru masks for endless hours as it creeps along headed for some hostile shore? Just dealing with the claustrophobia takes massive courage….

    • Peter

      While the tube be flooded?

      • Darryl

        I’m sure that it will be flooded, first I see no signs of seals in the photos, and second, if you were to fill that volume of space with air, then I’m pretty sure that it would be near impossible to get it to go under or stay underwater. I suppose one could use external ballast, but that would most likely reduce range and performance. I have faith that the 6 guys who would be using this thing on a mission would think being crammed into that space, sure beats having to swim that same distance with all their gear.

    • Londoner

      US defense contractors ALWAYS inflate the specs and capabilities of its designs. ALWAYS!

      That’s why US defense products ALWAYS perform well below expectations in an actual war.

      Looking at this tiny little dudd, I’d say it’s more of a coffin for US combat swimmers than a mini sub, within 90% confidence limit.

      • ebsubman

        As a wise man once said “all generalizations are stupid.. even this one” U.S. contactors don’t ALWAYS inflate specs, and our products don’t ALWAYS perform below expectations. I know this because I work for one and are intimate with performance of my products. Lighten up a little, and then we can discuss the merits of this concept.

        • insider

          I call BS on this one.

          First off you don’t understand what “generalization” means. Londoner’s statements aren’t generalizations; yours are! That includes what the so-called wise man has allegedly said.

          Second you don’t understand what the statement “all generalizations are stupid .. even this one” means. The “wise man” says his own statement is a generalization, and therefore stupid.

          Third you know jack, notwithstanding your unverifiable claim that you work for one, as a matter of logic. (FYI, I don’t believe for a second you have the brains to work in any technical field. You can’t even handle basic logic.)

          Finally, it’s become a general consensus among US military servicemen, you know, the ones who actually do the fighting on the front lines, that US defense products have never lived up to contractors’ claims as printed in their brochures. To cite a few examples - the F-16, the F-15, the F-22, the F35, the Tomahawks, the M1A1 MBT, all nuclear subs, all anti-missile defense systems.

          Maybe you should read up a little more before you “discuss” anything with anyone. Actually, you should read up a lot before you …

    • Robbie

      The article calls it a “wet” sub, meaning that the mission space is flooded. The Navy has had a similar special ops sub for decades, this is the replacement. They tried to design a much more comfortable dry sub as a replacement, but its design was never accepted.

      • Really?

        mission space? you mean the “piss-ion space” don’t you?!

    • Drew

      Is 350 to 700 NM the round-trip range or the combat radius? Either way, 10 knots == 10 Nautical Miles per hour. To go the full range of the sub will take from 35 to 70 hours; you could spend nearly 3 days in this thing. I’d pack some reading material

  • dukeofurl

    I thought the Navy has had drone underwater vehicles for a very long time. They are called torpedoes

    • blight_

      “I thought the air force has had drone aerial vehicles for a very long time. They are called air to air missiles”. Who needs Predators? We have AMRAAMs!

    • Riceball

      When was the last time the Navy was able to accommodate passengers on/in a torpedo?

  • stephen russell

    Love to see used for commercial use alone, be awesome.

    • john

      it looks like it has a
      diveing bell/support?

    • Riceball

      What commercial use could there be for something like this? It’s not particularly fast nor is it very spacious and the passengers have to use scuba gear while inside it. The only possible commercial use I could see for this is for extending spear or abalone fishing trips but I don’t think that any fishermen would use it because of the cost, much cheaper just to have a small motorboat waiting at the surface.

      • blight_

        Only other commercial deep sea divers I can think of are connected to salvage or petroleum industries…unsure how either could use this.

  • octopusmagnificens

    American Kaiten.

  • Mott

    Spec Op, Used for SEALs, Why would the CG need this, I have no idea….

  • Rick

    A “wet sub” is a type of underwater vehicle (submarine) that does not provide a dry environment for its occupants.

    • insider

      LOL. Well, perhaps the design of the sub is horrible that anyone who has gotten inside has a hard time controlling his bladder.

      • dutch kid

        Diapers, buddy. Diapers are good. Just ask US astronauts.

  • Franklin

    Wet subs have been around for a while. The real question is if it is stealthy underwater and does it have defence/offence capabilities besides on board cargo. It could be used to tow mines (with propulsion systems) into shallow water that self activate with target recognition able to attack or hibernate on station.

    it has a very slight resemblence to the Huntley

  • Ibis

    These kind of units usually carry a wired floating gps antenna for direction/navigation that lets them navigate precisely at deeps down to 30/40 fleets. This is the use of the display you can see together with engine control and messaging between the team and support submarine. The usually release the antenna for accurate waypoint check at certain moments into the mission.

    The optional unmanned characteristic could be also used to retrieve the unit after an insertion and even send the unit for team extraction into a different point.

    As closed circuit rebreathers have an endurance around 8 to 10 hours I would imagine an effective range of 80 miles that could be extended by an onboard breathing gas system that could prove quiet tiring anyway even with heated dry suits.

    Claustrophobia is one of the psychological stresses you learn to manage in these operations similar to cave diving.

    • franklin

      Not really a cruze ship enviroment! I think wet subs are primative for anything over a couple hours. It doesn’t take rocket science to build a combo dry/wet sub that will go down 40 feet. And put some big curved OLED paper thin screens on the inside (like windows) to enjoy the view or see whats lurking outside, review data, watch movies, check out the surface or monitor probes.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    I doubt you could make a dry sub as small as this one for the stated payload and range. Small is stealthy.

    Since carrying teams ashore is part of the mission set, a water-filled hull would offer inherent advantages of stealthy silence and situational awareness when the time came to deploy people, or leave spyware on the bottom (think of shallow water Holystone missions) and depart quietly. The Navy has invested in small AIP systems for other UUV projects, so I suspect that battery power is either or all of quieter, cheaper or (most likely) the fastest possible route to IOC. Earlier Seal delivery vehicles were reported to be problematic.

    • Robbie

      Sure you can. SOCOM has been actively pursuing a dry mini-sub for years…..
      http://live-defensetech.sites.thewpvalet.com/2014/01/30/socom-develops-…

      • blight_

        http://dtic.mil/ndia/2013SOFIC/PEOMaritimeUnderse…

      • Brian B. Mulholland

        The vehicle described in the linked article is described as 31′ long and displacing 19 tons. This one is about 26′ long and described as 4 tons. This one is still stealthier, at least potentially so, and more exhausting on the people being transported. No?

        Missions involving quiet insertion of SEAL teams aren’t spur-of-the-moment operations, so perhaps if both vehicles are procured, the vehicle will be chosen on the basis of mission needs.

        • blight_

          At this rate, they may want to use minisubs to deliver Marines to shore. Trying to make it on a surface-floating amphib is going to become more and more dangerous.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    Very interesting links, thank you.

  • USofA

    Way in the world would we show our advisories,pictures of the prop and inside instrument panel? They need this type of equipment-a little more speed would be important.

  • zimo

    why don’t we have our enemies partake in the development of our military arsenal. Everything we invent our enemies surpasses it , then our servicemembers will suffer the consequences. DEATH that is.
    SECRET is SECRET that is the bottom line. P.S. what don’t we have an open door policy, such as our borders for our enemies.
    Quit publishing our discoveries