Military Diving - Equipment
Equipment available to military divers is expensive, tough and hard to rival. Suppliers tend be specialists in design and manufacture. Comprehensive surface support usually available for combat/military divers as is recompression facilities. Almost all military diving equipment tends to be either black, dark coloured or camoflaged for concealment purposes.
The Breathing equipment used by the military can vary depending on the mission. For routine work such as inspecting a ship or engineering applications open circuit aqualung similar to a scuba configuration is likely to be used.
When a mission calls for the utmost secrecy Closed-Circuit Rebreathers (CCRs) are used. Military CCRs are very sophisticated, complex and require in-depth training to be used safely. Whilst in operation exhaled breath is recirculated into the CCR, 'cleaned' and allow no bubbles escape, thus ensuring its stealth capability. The gas blend of choice is normally pure oxygen as this incurs no decompression requirements and nitrogen fatigue. Two or more oxygen sensors are normally installed which monitor oxygen levels to ensure life support.
Helium blends are used but these tend to in a non-combat situations involving deep recovery operations.
A full-face mask is almost always worn for communications with the support unit and to allow orinasal breathing. In the even of an oxygen toxicity attack the diver is saved from drowning by the mask staying in place, as opposed to an ordinary regulator which is usually spat out during an CNS (Central Nervous System) convulsion.
Military drysuits differ a little from typical civilian ones. Most outwardly in the dark colour and ability to resist scrapes and bangs. A bailout bottle is found installed on some to be used in emergencies. Some drysuits are specific to what the situation calls for. An example of this being the 'foul water suit' which is entirely vulcanised and resistant to chemical ingress.
Military fins are tough, quite large and require a strong set of legs to exert their full potential. They are capable of moving a fully equiped military diver though the water quickly and silently.
As expected on missions requiring incursions against a hostile force or where enemy divers are suspected a lethal weapon (s) is carried. The type carried can vary from army to army. Most types are an assault rifle or a sub-machine environmentally sealed for use under-water. Some are converted for use with fletchettes and harpoons ensuring lethality against hostile divers.
Military DPVStrong currents and the need for urgency on operations are always a factor for combat diving ops. Though military divers have a high degree of fitness when a current exceeds 2 knots and the objective is at a long distance tiredness soon creeps in. The military DPV allows for effortless travel to and from an objective requiring covert entry. Performance is unrestrictive with speeds in excess of ten knots possible, these are the fastest known DPVs. Many different types and sizes are used that can transport up to four divers at once with equipment. The type pictured shares some similarities with the recreational DPV, both are neutrally buoyant and are usually man-portable. The similarities stop when it comes to speed and battery life though.
The another type of underwater vehicle is the SDV (Swimmer Delivery Vehicle). It is a large manned underwater vehicle which can be launched from submarines or navy vessels for combat diver ops. Larger, faster and a greater range are key factors for the military SDV.
Military DPVs/SDVs are currently unavailable to the civilian market for security reasons.
Mine Clearance System
The EMLB (Emergency Mine Lift Bag) is a system designed to allow fully automated lift-bag which allows hazardous ordinance to be lifted to the surface and subsequantly removed from the area for disposal. If required the system then lowers the ordnance back to the seabed at a controlled rate of descent.
Commmunications systems which are incorporated into the divers full-face mask allow diver-to-diver communication over long distances and to the main support base.