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Another highly informative article!
I wonder if it was cost or drop in performance that lead them to have a detachable DDS rather than opt for including one permanently as part of a longer sail?

Deeps Doc

Sean- the sail is called a fin in the UK

Iqbal Ahmed

‘Caravan of death’ doesn’t sound like a viable special forces delivery platform.

The risk of losing a nuclear submarine is too great for not enough bang for your buck in terms of numbers of personnel that could be deployed. I don’t like the idea of submarines caught near the coast.


He’s obviously right and the article agrees with him.Going without SSKs is a terrible idea for training, keeping the development and production infrastructure going and various inshore tasks. What can we do?All the money has been wasted and to some degree a lot of RN units suffer from the same problem, too big,too expensive and too few in number to risk deploying.

Captain Nemo

How are you assigning value? It might be worth a life, it might be worth a hundred, twas ever thus.

We travel not for trafficking alone;
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known…


I read the “caravan of death” to imply the delivery of death to the enemy, I certainly hope it’s the case!

Evan P

I feel like some people dislike your comments without even reading what you’ve written. Ironic how you’re the one who gets called a troll.


This system is very much in use.
Ex Marine.

Bloke down the pub

The MOD’s request for information from industry for the development of an XLUUV states, ‘ The total funding available for this competition is £1m for Stage 1 (research and development of an autonomous control system and re-fit of an existing manned submersible to implement this innovative autonomy). Presumably, if it is based on the DDS, the Navy would be able to transport it in the deck housing on the Astutes.


Whatever next 42″ TT’s.?


You could transport a large UUV on the cradle of an SSN.

But the XLUUV class are specifically launched from a dock or a large surface vessel, with a self powered transit to the operational area. Even the USN with it’s huge number of vessels and special purpose SSGN and SSN’s don’t have plans to launch them from subs. Truth is a surface vessel could transport them close to an operational area just as quickly and covertly as an SSN and far cheaper. Or if a friendly base could be found transporting it via C-17 and then launch from a harbour would be far faster than SSN transit and launch. XLUUV’s are designed to avoid the need for Submarine launch and support in the first place.

Phillip Johnson

Sounds like a ‘nice to have’ but is the UK really going to risk one of its handful of SSN’s on such a mission?

John Clark

Absolutely Phillip, delivering SBS teams is an important part of what these superb assets accomplish in the course of their clandestine duties.

A single Astute, could deliver/recover a SF team and if compromised, send most Navies to the bottom on the same day, such is their weapons load and sensor capability.

Phillip Johnson

As long as they don’t send and ASW helicopter or aircraft. Something the size of a SSN is critically vulnerable in shore. If you are sending an SBS raid against a minor player you don’t need a SSN. If you are going against a major player you are taking a hell of a risk. Which likely is not warranted.
If you look critically at the history of SF operations, the body count is pretty long.


That’s the point of the DDS and SDV Phillip. The Sub doesn’t have to come in-shore, these can be launched from miles out at sea. The enemy are going to have to be pretty accurate both in time and location in where they focus their assets in trying to find the sub in these circumstances.

Chris Wade

We practiced raids from Diesel Boats in 1966,
Thirty of us from 42 Cdo, using Gemini inflatables dragging them up from Forward hatch and aft.paddling ashore after it had been reccied by SBS. Pick was a device hung in the water which the boat homed in on. A line was passed between two front craft. The periscope had a red light coming from it, Sub caught us and took us out to sea.where we deflated the craft got back on board.


An informative piece. I remember the Alamanda project, or work associated with it at least, going on at Dolphin.

Please, of were talking about the RN, let’s call it a fin, not a sail.