Jetboots and other innovations improve the effectiveness of SOF teamsNews
May 11, 2023
SOF WEEK 2023 -- TAMPA, Fla. As the threats to the military continue to evolve, the requirements for equipment and technologies deployed by SOF teams to keep personnel safe and improve effectiveness also change. Defense companies at the SOF Week 2023 exhibition are featuring innovative products such as Jetboots for diver propulsion and solutions that can improve the effectiveness of operators.
Special forces/law-enforcement supplier Patriot3 (Fredericksburg, Virginia) unveiled the Hammerhead subsurface multimission vehicle at the show; the underwater vehicle can operate autonomously or by manual control. According to company information, the fully modular vehicle can dive as far as 92 meters (302 feet) and enables users to customize to handle a variety of manned and unmanned mission requirements.
Equipped with GPS, sonar, and Doppler, it is fitted with five modules: bow (housing system controls and navigation systems), spacer (PALS/MOLLE system to store dive gear, chest rig, and arms), control (vehicle brains and auxiliary systems), battery (105 amp-hour battery array), and stern thrusters.
Each individual module contains built-in closed-cell foam enabling configurable buoyancy for any vehicle configuration and specific mission.
Charles Fuqua, sales representative for Patriot3, explains that the Hammerhead is currently in production and has been deployed into the U.S. military “by a handful of units as well as into several international customers.”
Another Patriot3 product on display product is the Jetboots (see figure above) diver-propulsion system for use by military divers: It is a hands-free apparatus strapped to the diver’s leg that can reach a maximum speed of 3.9 knots (4.5 mph), averaging nearly an hour of runtime. The system features heavy-duty, low-noise brushless motors; Li-ion battery; ruggedized, waterproof control box; battery charger; and an adjustable harness system. Jetboots – aimed at use in reconnaissance, search-and-rescue, patrol, and hull-inspection applications – are compatible with standard military dive gear. Fuqua mentions that the system’s battery life can be extended to about five to six hours, depending on the users’s speed.
Among the other innovative products on display at the show are a line of tactical cameras supplied by Bounce Imaging (Buffalo, New York). The low-SWaP [size, weight, and power] devices are designed to enable users to explore challenging environments and confined-space scenarios – for example, in urban combat/close-quarters room clearing, to locate barricaded subjects, and performing confined-space surveillance – without exposing them to risky situations.
The Recce360 Mini is a baseball-sized camera with real-time panoramic video stitching and stabilization that connects to any Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK), Android, or iOS devices. For its part, the Recce360 TW is kitted similarly to the Mini but carries additional MANET [mobile ad hoc network] capabilities via an embedded Trellisware module.