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CIA Semi-Submersible

Artifact Details

An enclosed boat on a four-wheeled frame

The CIA designed this semi-submersible to approach areas ships could not.

CIA designed and manufactured this two-man semi-submersible in the 1950s. It carried no weapons, was cramped, had limited endurance, and required a “mother ship” for transport and recovery. However, the vessel could approach areas ships could not.

The semi-submersible was small and quiet. The craft was made of wood and aluminum, with plywood sheathing on the bottom, sides, and deck. This construction made sonar or radar detection unlikely. The semi-submersible could be sunk, without personnel, in depths of up to 30 feet. After sinking, it could be left underwater for periods of up to three to four weeks. When running in the “deck awash” position, it was almost impossible to see.

Its speed semi-submerged was up to 4.7 knots; its cruising speed was 4.1 knots, and its slow speed was 2.5 knots. With a range of about 110 miles, it could carry two men and 120 pounds of their equipment.

Artifact Specs

overall length:  19 ft

beam:  5 ft, 3 in

height:  6 ft, 9 in

weight:  3,650 lbs.

Additional Photos

A transparent dome is present on top of the boat
A close up of the hatch of the boat