Special Operations Command picks Patriot3 to provide battery-powered electric thrusters for combat swimmers

April 21, 2022
Jetboots propulsion for the military diver uses low-noise brushless motors and lithium-ion batteries move combat swimmers at low total system weight.

MacDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – U.S. special operations combat divers needed covert electric thrusters to help them move quickly and efficiently through the water. They found their solution from Patriot3 Inc. in Fredericksburg, Va.

Officials of the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., announced a maximum $10 million contract to Patriot3 on Friday for Jet Boots Dive Propulsion Systems.

Jetboots is a propulsion system for the military diver that uses low-noise brushless motors and lithium-ion batteries to achieve powerful propulsion at low total system weight.

Jetboots provide combat swimmers to move through the water with their full military gear for reconnaissance, search and rescue, patrol, and hull inspection. The Jetboots system is compatible with standard issue military dive gear.

Related: Special Forces asks industries for new technologies to help combat divers fight in the water

The Jetboots system includes dual knob control box; two gen5 thrusters; custom lithium ion battery; battery charger; adjustable harness system; buoyancy compensation device; spare parts kit; and transport case.

The control box is a ruggedized waterproof aluminum enclosure that controls the power and speed of the Jetboots. It includes a power switch, adjustable thrust knob, and a LED battery state of charge indicator light with mounted cover.

The control box connects to the thrusters and battery by underwater cables that are specially designed for harsh maritime environments. The battery is hot-swappable underwater and rated to 300 feet ocean depth.

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The battery charger and a removable region power cord can accommodate 110- and 220-volt circuits. Each charger has a LED voltage readout, illuminated power button, and a terminal debris plug.

The thrusters contain heavy duty brushless motors protected by a hard anodized aluminum housing. A hermetically sealed magnetic coupling drive and a durable nylon propeller move combat swimmers through the water.

The Jetboots harness is a custom back-braced adjustable system that integrates the control box, thrusters, and battery. Each component mounts to the harness using MOLLE which allows the components to be adjusted to conform to the diver's equipment configuration.

Related: Navy eyes large autonomous submarines for reconnaissance and special operations

A buoyancy compensation kit mounts to the inside of the harness, and uses closed-cell foam and two orally inflatable air bladders for variable buoyancy and to offset the weight of the Jetboots. The spare parts kit includes a small waterproof case for transport.

The Jetboots Runtime Software is a USB and software package that allows the operator to connect a thruster to a computer and monitor the total operating time of the thruster for maintenance purposes.

On this contract Patriot3 will do the work in Fredericksburg, Va., and should be finished by 2027. For more information contact Patriot3 online at www.patriot3.com, or U.S. Special Operations Command at www.socom.mil.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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