JFD – part of James Fisher and Sons plc – has launched its advanced four man tactical diving platform, Shadow Seal, during the DSEI 2023 exhibition in London, ahead of delivery to United States partner Blue Tide Marine (BTM) for demonstration and training purposes. Global open-source intelligence company Janes reported that the first Shadow Seal semi-submersible tactical diving vehicle (TDV) is set to start its final in-water testing and validation phase on the Clyde, near JFD’s facilities in Inchinnan, Glasgow. The final trials phase was expected to continue for the next six weeks, after which the TDV would be delivered to the company’s US-based partner Blue Tide Marine (BTM) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, around November. Following its delivery to the US, BTM will use the TDV for local demonstrations and training purposes as part of JFD’s efforts to secure US customers for Shadow Seal.
A strategic partnership with BTM was announced in March 2022 as part of JFD’s commitment to expanding its US presence and subsea maritime capability. BTM subsequently purchased the first production model of Shadow Seal to provide local demonstration and training services – significant milestone in JFD’s journey towards a full turnkey US capability, inclusive of TDV provision and follow on support services throughout the product lifecycle. Shadow Seal was first developed by Ortega Submersibles in The Netherlands which was acquired by JFD in 2019 and has since undergone further development and rigorous trials. JFD has combined 40 years’ experience within the subsea domain with proven technology; found within JFD’s Carrier Seal which is in operation with a number of the World’s Navies. Recent upgrades included in the latest Shadow Seal include expansion of available battery power enhancing range and endurance capacity of the craft.
Shadow Seal is a unique Tactical Diving Vehicle (TDV) design that is able to operate in surface, semi-submerged and submerged modes, enabling the discrete and covert transportation of four personnel within the littoral environment. Two personnel are seated in each of the two cockpits. The vehicle may be piloted by a single Operator located either in the front or rear cockpit, enabling the pilot’s role to alternate between forward and aft located personnel. The vehicle may be bottomed out in shallow water or secured to a fi xed sub-surface structure such as a pier leg, then shut-down and secured, enabling the deployment of four tactical divers and equipment. Shadow Seal is readily launched from its trailer down a slipway or across a suitable beach. Alternatively it may be launched by a small dockside crane and transported into the area of operations by small surface vessel, submarine, rotary wing aircraft or parachute
To optimise performance and control, Shadow Seal incorporates a Closed Circuit Ballast & Trim System enabling neutral buoyancy to be readily achieved in a range of operational environments. The vehicle has the capability to be remotely controlled expanding its operational employment potential. When submerged, operators use personal life support systems such as oxygen rebreathers, however, Shadow Seal incorporates a Built-In-Breathing System for emergency use. To quickly achieve positive buoyancy for routine or emergency use, Shadow Seal incorporates a buoyancy system supplied by high pressure compressed air. Shadow Seal is powered by 8 x 10kWh batteries that drive
the propulsion system.