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Dry Deck Shelter

The Dry Deck Shelter (DDS) is a special chamber, which can be installed on submarines. The DDS can be used to transport and launch an SDV or to "lock out" combat swimmers. It can be installed in about 12 hours and is air-transportable, further increasing special operations flexibility. It consists of three interconnected compartments made of HY-80 steel within a fiberglass fairing, each capable of independent pressurization.
Dry Deck Shelter Copyright © Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kimberly Clifford, U.S. Navy


In active service


Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding Co.


The Dry Deck Shelter is fitted aft of the submarine's sail structure, connected to the submarine's after hatch to permit free passage between the submarine and the DDS while the submarine is underwater and approaching the objective area. Then, with the submarine still submerged, the SEALs can exit the DDS and ascend to the surface.

Internal structure

The DDS is made up of three compartments. The forward-most compartment, a sphere, is the hyperbaric chamber which is used for treatment of injured divers. In the middle compartment, or transfer trunk, operators enter and exit the submarine and/or either of the other compartments. The third compartment, the hangar, is a cylinder with elliptical ends which houses either the SDV or up to 20 SOF personnel with CRRCs.


Length: 11.58 meters 38 feet
Beam: 2.74 meters 9 feet
Displacement: 30.48 metric tons 30 long tons
Maximum depth: 39.62 meters 130 feet