Al-Sabehat 15 Swimmer Delivery Vehicle
Unveiled in 2000, the Al-Sabehat 15 was described as Iran's first indigenously produced submarine. A mini-submarine designed specifically for swimmer delivery, it predates both the Nahang and Yono classes. The Al-Sabehat 15 has a crew of 2, plus 3-7 divers. In many ways its development led to subsequent submarine work in Iran.
The Al-Sabehat 15 is primarily intended for mining operations and reconnaissance missions. It can also be used for insertion of special forces in a variety of missions.
The US Navy uses a swimmer deployment vehicle launched from a dry dock shelter attached to a submarine in order to deploy swimmers. During deployment of the swimmer delivery vehicle, the vehicle, the submarine and the deployed swimmer are all subject of an increased risk of detection.
Ships and other installations in a waterway or other water source are vulnerable to interlopers who can penetrate into the area by swimming undetected into the area. A defense against such a threat is a surveillance system that continuously monitors the region for swimmers. Electromagnetic waves do not travel far in water. Similarly the effectiveness of using light to probe the water is limited because of the poor visibility. On the other hand sound can travel far in water. Hence the swimmer detection systems currently available are generally sonar systems.
The necessity for providing heat for both active and inactive divers during long duration, cold-water operations in swimmer delivery vehicles is well established. Alternative approaches to supply this requirement for active heating have covered a wide range of technologies, including thermoelectric heaters, heaters using magnesium combustion such as the heater referred to as the Conox, propane/catalytic heating, and heating by direct electrical resistive means. While all of these methods have been shown to be capable of producing sufficient quantities of heat, each has its own inherent restrictions and interface issues when applied to diving operations involving swimmer delivery vehicles. Most prominent of these issues are the requirements of consumption of power for a heater that compete and detract from the power requirements for propulsion of the swimmer delivery vehicle.
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