ASDS - Advanced SEAL Delivery System
The ASDS ( Advanced SEAL Delivery System is designed to provide a long-range insertion and extraction ability for US Naval Special Operations Forces. Due to the debilitating effects of long-time imersion in cold ( or even warm ) water, the ASDS has a dry chamber that SEALs or EOD can use to ride in comfort to the insertion point, giving them maximum physical effectiveness. The ASDS allows Naval Special Warfare teams to arrive near their target dry and fully armed, with only a short swim or immersion. The ASDS is operated by a crew of two (one driver and one navigator) and can carry up to 16 SEALs ( Less is they are fully loaded ) to distances rumored to be around 125 miles from their launching point.
Built by Northrop Grumman Corporation, the ASDS is 65 feet long, nine feet in diameter and weighs about 55 tons. It is transportable by both the C-17 Globemaster III and C-5B Galaxy. Once it arrives at its destination it can be mated on to a Los Angelos or Seawolf Class attack sub to be transported to its target in secrecy. There are bow and dove planes for steering at cruising speed but also thrusters on the bow and stern to help when the ASDS is traveling slow and the controls are not effective. Additionally, the ASDS has an anchoring ability so that it can anchor itself to the seabed while awaiting action. It is powered by batteries making it small and extremely quiet, however at this time the batteries have been a critical shortcoming of the ASDS, coming up short in their capacity.
Currently there are plans to buy three ASDS for the Navy and have them all operational by 2009. One has been built so far and is based with SEAL Delivery Team One (SDVT ONE) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for testing and evaluation. The ASDS arrived in Pearl harbor in early 2000. Currently two Pearl Harbor based attack subs (SSN's), the USS Charlotte and USS Greeneville have been modified to allow them to carry the ASDS.