JFD and US Navy unveil hands-free combat diver navigation system

21 September 2018 (Last Updated September 21st, 2018 12:00)

Global subsea engineering company James Fisher and Sons (JFD) and the US Navy have unveiled the Shadow NAV advanced combat diver navigation module.

JFD and US Navy unveil hands-free combat diver navigation system
The Shadow NAV combat diver navigation module. Credit: James Fisher and Sons plc.

Global subsea engineering company James Fisher and Sons (JFD) and the US Navy have unveiled the Shadow NAV advanced combat diver navigation module.

The first Shadow NAV module has been developed by the expert technical team S3D at the US Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Centre Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) to provide hands-free underwater navigation capability.

JFD will be responsible for making the capability widely available to divers operating across the globe.

Equipped with a diver’s standard half mask, the new navigation system offers a clear visual display of a combat diver’s compass heading, depth and time even in near-zero visibility environments.

“The expert technical team S3D at the NSWC PCD worked to develop a small, low-cost, low-power enhanced navigation capability to significantly improve safety standards for military divers.”

The mask-mounted head-up display provides combat divers with an unrestricted and continual visibility of accurate information in poor visibility conditions.

With the use of the system, divers might not be required to carry a handheld or tactical swim board, which to date has created serious limitations to potentially dangerous underwater military combat operations.

JFD products and support director Danny Gray said: “Traditional kit such as the compass and depth gauges not only increases the amount of equipment required, but, more critically, they are of little, or no use in water with very limited visibility, even with auxiliary illumination. This puts the diver at too great a risk of injury or even fatality.

“To address these challenges for potentially dangerous underwater combat missions, the expert technical team S3D at the NSWC PCD worked to develop a small, low-cost, low-power enhanced navigation capability to significantly improve safety standards for military divers and give them the best possible chance of successfully completing their missions.”