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DisTec 2022


Tactical diving, the future direction of travel

05 Oct 2022
DisTec Theatre
Exhibitor Showcase

Exhibitor Showcase - "Tactical Diving, The Future Direction of Travel"


With a focus on land operations for the last two-decades, maintaining and developing a maritime Special Operations Forces (SOF) capability has not been the priority of most Western nations. However, a changing geopolitical landscape has initiated a maritime pivot and numerous nations and military alliances are currently re-structuring their armed forces accordingly. Littoral and riverine maritime activity will therefore increase globally, which will include the expansion of maritime SOF operations.


However, increasingly sophisticated land, seabed and airborne sensor / weapon systems are now able to reach deep into the littoral zone, significantly enhancing coastal defences. As a consequence, when facing peer or near peer adversaries, the viability of inserting a tactical diving team by small inflatable craft to within realistically achievable swimming distances of an objective is rapidly declining. In response to such threats, surface or sub-surface SOF insertion support platforms will require to remain further offshore to mitigate Anti-Access / Area Denial (A2/AD) weapon systems.  In addition, the ready availability of highly effective low-cost thermal and low light civilian optical systems notably increases detection potential even when facing non peer adversaries. Crossing the increasingly expanding littoral water gap discretely and covertly is therefore presenting a number of challenges to maritime SOF planners.


This JFD presentation will explore the potential means of adopting a tiered approach to SOF Underwater Manoeuvre (UWM) capability projection in order to help address the challenges of an expanding littoral ‘water gap’.   

Jim Emmert, Capability Development - Applications & Requirements - JFD / JFD North America
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