As a former member of SEAL Teams 1, 2, and 6 and the author of six books, together with Ralph Pezzullo, about Navy SEALs, Don Mann says that one thing that makes Navy SEALs the most elite warriors on the planet is their equipment. “It’s literally the most high-tech, state-of-the art combat gear and equipment available.”
Some of the SEAL teams’ tech comes directly out of the developmental labs at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency), which is responsible for the development of new technologies to keep the U.S. military technically ahead of our enemies. Examples of high-tech gadgets that real SEALs use are below. (I equipped my fictional SEAL team with this gear in my latest thriller, Hunt the Jackal)
NSW Invisio M4s. These in-ear conduction headsets are custom-fit, fully submersible, and are configured to work with both digital and analog radios. During the raid on Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound in May 2011, they allowed SEALs from Team 6 to whisper communications to one another as they carried out their mission.
Phoenix IR strobe beacons. These tiny devices issue an individual Combat Identification marker that’s not visible to the naked eye. With a flash rate designed to prevent confusion with small arms fire, they’re used to minimize fratricide, and have been carried by SEALs in theatres of operation such as Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Miniature Underwater GPS Receiver. This small 1.2 pound device provides position and navigational information for infil/exfil, fire support, direct action, and target location. Once it acquires a satellite fix, it can be taken to a depth of thirty-three feet.
Rescue Air Initiated Launch (RAIL). A pneumatically fired metal grappling hook launched from a black cannon about the size of a human arm. Used for getting its hook into a surface 100 feet high and towing a sturdy, nylon-jacketed line or ladder for someone to ascend.
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