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Special Operations Seat

Design a light-weight, multi-purpose, forward-facing seat for Maritime Special Operations Forces that can be quickly reconfigured as a hook/ladder system for obstacle clearance and as a buoyant stretcher for casualty extraction.


CHALLENGE CLOSING: January 15, 2018

Planning to Submit: 0 Submissions: 0

Goal is to design a light-weight, multi-purpose, forward-facing seat for Maritime Special Operations Forces that is compatible with Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC), specifically Wing Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).  The warfighter must be able to quickly reconfigure the seats as a hook/ladder system for obstacle clearance and as a buoyant stretcher for casualty extraction.

  • Current RHIB design forces Maritime SOF to maintain awkward positions during long transits on CRRCs which unnecessarily expends energy and degrades the operator’s posture, resulting in reduced operational capability once the military objective is reached. By adding forward-facing seats to currently used Wing RHIBs, the majority of the assault force will be able to maintain a more natural, ergonomic seating position during long transits, which will significantly improve operator performance during the mission.
  • When conducting a tactical insertion utilizing a CRRC, Maritime SOF must plan ahead to bring a hook/ladder in the event an obstacle is encountered that must be overcome (e.g. pier, quay wall, etc.). This extra hook/ladder equipment can be cumbersome and can take up much of the limited available space on the CRRC, preventing the carriage of other critical military equipment. Having a hook/ladder system pre-built into the seats of the CRRC would create much needed additional space on the CRRC and would save pre-mission planning time that would have otherwise been spent weighing the necessity of a dedicated hook/ladder system vs other military equipment.  It would also ensure that the capability for obstacle clearance is always available, even when it is not identified as a requirement in operational pre-mission planning.
  • Casualty extraction in the maritime environment presents many unique challenges and as such, there are many factors that must be taken into consideration when planning for this contingency.  One of those factors is the team’s ability to swim a casualty out of harm’s way if necessary.  Another is the decision to pre-position bulky medical gear on the CRRC, again taking up limited available space.  The ability to reconfigure RIB seats into a positively buoyant stretcher would ensure that the capability to evacuate a casualty in the maritime environment is always available and would also free up valuable space on the CRRC for other military equipment.

Please review the following resources:

Modular Seat which can be transformed into a ladder and stretcher based on need.


  • Goal 1: Conceptual Technical Design Package
  • Goal 2: Developmental Technical Design Package
  • Stretch Goal: Build a prototype


Additional specifics to assist:

  • Provide solution to allow Operators to sit ergonomically in the CRRC while in transit which will mitigate unnecessary fatigue and stress prior to reaching the objective. Long term effects may show a decrease in stress injuries.
  • Creating a modular ladder system to adjust to multiple heights while also being utilized as the bench replaces the need to bring extra equipment that will take up critical space and serve only one purpose.
  • Having the immediate capability to more efficiently transport multiple casualties over the beach or in the maritime environment will address an often overlooked part of SOF maritime operations.

Please post questions throughout the challenge on the Q&A tab. Your submission will be judged on the final submission.

Prizes will be awarded and announced within 30 days of the challenge closing date.  Prize amounts for this challenge are:

  • First Place: $8,000
  • Second Place: $5,000
  • Third Place: $2,000

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Special Operations Training (Transitional seat) questions?

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