Dive in: Subsea Craft’s hybrid surface craft and submersible for defence, VICTA

The “world’s most technically advanced surface-submersible” VICTA, designed by maritime technology business Subsea Craft, takes final shape in Hampshire, UK.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Dec 14, 2020

Designed with an intent to prove a boon to the defence market, with emphasis on elite and special forces, VICTA is an accomplishment in advanced maritime mechanics and is all set to hit international waters from Britain for global sale in 2021. The latest development on the project is a significant one in the cycle of its physical build: VICTA’s true form began to emerge as the lower hull was bonded to the upper skin, giving shape to the whole craft for the first time earlier this year. This is especially remarkable since until then, the construction had been focused on the fit out of the craft, installing a number of vital internal components including its powerful batteries. The focus still lies on ensuring the craft’s build quality required for VICTA’s operation at underwater pressures of up to 4BAR, while incorporating its specially marinised components for high performance.

  • The craft can be airlifted and dropped to a desired location for defense applications including reconnaissance and surveillance | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
    The craft can be airlifted and dropped to a desired location for defense applications including reconnaissance and surveillance Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft
  • VICTA can seamlessly transition between on-surface and underwater operation | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
    VICTA can seamlessly transition between on-surface and underwater operation Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft

The craft is revolutionary in more ways than one, and design sits paramount atop all these factors. VICTA is essentially a high powered diver delivery unit that can simultaneously operate on the surface of water and under it at remarkable speeds. Its almost effortless, seamless transition between a craft and a submarine in trivial terms is facilitated by a unique fly-by-wire control system, usually employed in and typical of aircrafts, enabling a more hands on control for the pilots. Delivering dynamic stability in all conditions during and before/after the transition, the craft ensures the crew’s safety while reducing friction in the cockpit owing to its final ergonomic form, making it easy to manoeuvre. This discretion in diver delivery coupled with a number of technical firsts that its design accommodates, along with emphasis on crew safety is what puts it well ahead of competition and tailor-made for the defences, with applications ranging between reconnaissance, surveillance and security.

  • The VICTA can accommodate a total of eight passengers: two crew and six operators | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
    The VICTA can accommodate a total of eight passengers: two crew and six operators Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft
  • The VICTA can accommodate a total of eight passengers: two crew and six operators | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
    Schematic sectional slice of the VICTA partially submerged showing its fully waterproof battery chambers Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft

VICTA boasts of a carbon fibre body with a Diab core (a unique composite material that offers highest strength per weight ratio for marine applications), lending the craft its light weight, strength, as compared to other fibreglass crafts, and easy manoeuvrability. This impressive body is powered by a sub-marinised SeaTek 725 HP diesel engine, allowing VICTA to power through a range of 250 nautical miles at speeds of nearly 40 knots using a highly efficient water jet, on surface. Upon diving, its dual SubCtech Li-ion battery packs kick in, providing enough power to enable sub surface operation for distances up to 25 NM, translating to nearly four hours of underwater journey time for a team of two crew members and six operators. The batteries are further stored in fully waterproof chambers. An essential part of its design are its forward and rear hydroplanes along with vertical thrusters, enabling its operators unparalleled levels of control, especially maintaining stability when submerged. 

When completely submerged, VICTA can travel up to 25 NM for nearly four hours | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
When completely submerged, VICTA can travel up to 25 NM for nearly four hours Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft

Before the craft can be ready for the international market, intended for late 2021, the teams at Subsea Craft and VICTA continue further tests and trials, including its diesel engine currently being tested at the company’s Portland facility before installation. This would be followed by the installation of a first-of-its-kind, world leading command and control system designed around proven Controller Area Network (CAN) technologies allowing common architecture and integration. VICTA will also be fitted with an obstacle avoidance sonar that will act as “VICTA’s eyes under water”, capable of emulating the ocean floor impression in 3D up to 600m ahead and 100m below. The installation of acrylic windows, hatches, hinges and life-support systems would be the final stage of fittings ahead of comprehensive trials and testing for the craft itself.

  • In progress: VICTA is close to acquiring its final physical form and appearance | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
    In progress: VICTA is close to acquiring its final physical form and appearance Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft
  • Earlier this year, its lower hull was bonded to the upper skin, giving shape to the whole craft for the first time | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
    Earlier this year, its lower hull was bonded to the upper skin, giving shape to the whole craft for the first time Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft
  • VICTA boasts of a carbon fibre body with a Diab core | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
    VICTA boasts of a carbon fibre body with a Diab core Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft
  • VICTA’s finished version is expected to be in the market by late 2021 | VICTA | Subsea Craft | STIRworld
    VICTA’s finished version is expected to be in the market by late 2021 Image: Courtesy of Subsea Craft

“In an uncertain world, nations seek an advantage which VICTA can provide,” states Scott Verney, CEO of Subsea Craft. “Now that the dynamic shape and form of VICTA has been established, we can get to the truly exciting stages of the build. Integration of the full technical suite and control systems for the craft will be a game-changing moment. All together we have around 250 subsea connectors all controlled by the fly-by-wire on-board system – it’s the most advanced craft of its type.” Currently funded privately to the tune of nearly £12m, Subsea Craft is seeking second stage investment to enhance working capital profiles, strengthen the brand, expand its offering and infiltrate its offering into other sectors.

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