The US Navy wants to invent a diving suit that can allow the diver to not have to worry about decompression.
Last February, the Navy Experimental Diving Unit held an in-water test of the Deep Sea Expeditionary with No Decompression (DSEND) Suit.
According to the Navy:
“The DSEND demo tested the capabilities of a new concept suit aimed to help divers navigate their environment more efficiently.”
As Allie Williams, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) Fleet Diving In-Service Engineering Agent, explained:
“This test was conducted as a proof of concept demonstrating the DSEND suit’s flexibility and maneuverability under the diver’s own power. The operator was [also] wearing a Divers Augmented Vision Display (DAVD) system inside the suit to demonstrate the future permanent integration of DAVD, as well.”
The Navy’s current Atmospheric Diving Suit (ADS) is heavy, lacks maneuverability and requires relatively large sea craft for deployment. This new project aims to innovate the previous ADS on several fronts including improvements to its current rotary joint design.
For example, the current ADS doesn’t allow movement in the same direction as natural human joints, which can contribute to diver fatigue. This new suit concept would enhance a diver’s range of motion, without considerable strain or force, while providing the added benefit of allowing the user to swim independent of propulsion systems.
An additional objective is to develop a swimmable dive suit that maintains atmospheric pressure internal to the suit and can withstand pressures up to 300 feet of seawater (fsw), according to the Navy.
“The demo went well and served as a good proof of concept for the project. We received good feedback and it was valuable to have the chance for follow-on testing. This program will provide new capabilities to the warfighter by creating a more flexible and lightweight ADS, compared to the previous more costly and burdensome capabilities.”
(Featured Image credit: US Navy/Ronald Newsome)