SOFIC 2018: Combat assault vests for US Navy SEALs

US Navy SEAL teams are set to receive an uplift in personal equipment with a contract award confirmed on 27 April to supply operators with additional Combat Swimmer Assault Vest (CSAV) solutions.

Announced by the Federal Business Opportunities website, the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has awarded Aqua Lung a five-year contract, worth up to $650,000, to deliver an undisclosed number of systems to support maritime special operations.

The commercially available multi-purpose buoyancy compensator provides a life preserver and tactical vest capable of being integrated with Mk16 and Mk25 Underwater Breathing Apparatus for inser-tion/extraction from dry deck shelters and dry combat submersibles (DCS).

According to USSOCOM sources, the CSAV has been certified by SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 (SDVT-1), based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to support all mission capabilities. These include the full spectrum of special operations including underwater demolitions; maritime counter-terrorism; and special reconnaissance missions.

The CSAV features an adjustable harness; MOLLE-style outer container and air bladder; inflator hose; and SureLock weight pouches and sheaths, according to company literature. The outer container is designed to protect the air bladder from rips and tears while also providing a method of attachment for rebreather equipment.

The CSAV, which weighs a total of 35lb (16kg), is also able to support single- and twin-cylinder SCUBA configurations.

The news follows the start of deliveries of Mustang Survival’s Maritime Assault Suit System (MASS) and Lightweight MASS (L-MASS), announced by the company on 22 January. MASS and L-MASS systems are designed to support SEAL operators with a ‘waterproof and breathable’ outfit capable of being worn in sub-surface, surface and transition to land environments.

The MASS comprises 5lb in weight (L-MASS weighs in at 4lb) and features dry suit design technology without hinderance of movement or mobility to keep the operator dry.

Defense sources explained to Shephard how CSAV and MASS/L-MASS systems will support SEAL units operating the navy’s DCS which is currently being evaluated by Naval Special Warfare.

Manufactured by Lockheed Martin and Submergence Group, the DCS has been designed to deploy from DDS on board Ohio – and Virginia -class submarines, providing a next-generation insertion/extraction capability during maritime special operations.

A pair of DCS is expected to enter service with NSW in 2020.

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