A speedboat carries divers close to its target. So to escape detection, submerged up to 30 meters deep. With its dark paintwork, against the deep sea, it is almost invisible. This is the Subsea Craft Victa, an underwater speedboat that resembles the underwater Lotus Esprit used by James Bond in 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977).
A detail that is not a detail: this happens with the cabin filling up with water. It is a submarine to be used by divers in diving suits.
The project was announced in 2020 and, on the 9th, went to the water for the first time at Subsea Craft's testing ground in Portsmouth, England.
The first tests were pretty basic: basically measuring stability in water. The next ones will be systems integration, starting in October. Underwater mobile testing is expected in March of next year.
In World War II, it was not a submarine boat, but a human torpedo
Diver insertion vehicles have been around since World War II, when they were called “human torpedoes”. Fired from ships or submarines, they carried the crew, exposed to water like that on the underwater launch, to install bombs on enemy ships. On December 14, 1941, four Maiale microsubmarines of the Fascist Italian navy were launched from submarines and their divers sank two British battleships in the port of Alexandria, Egypt.
Using a speedboat instead of a conventional submersible has speed as its main advantage. The Victa submarine boat, with a carbon fiber hull, is surface-powered by a 725 hp waterjet engine, capable of reaching up to 40 knots (74 km/h). Underwater, it is powered by a 20 kW electric motor, providing autonomy for up to 4 hours. In this case, speed is limited to 8 knots (15 km/h).
The idea is to launch it at a safe distance by helicopter, to take its crew of 6 divers, plus a pilot and a navigator, to any target. Military divers' missions are not necessarily about destroying things: they can be, for example, disarming minefields, as happened in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Subsea Craft says Victa is designed for military missions, but could be sold to interested civilians such as adventurous millionaires. Maybe even for luxury tourism.
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