Sunday, February 24, 2013

What’s in a Navy SEAL Survival Kit?

The Navy is buying 300 “personnel recovery and survival kits”  for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG), also known as SEAL Team 6.

The kit includes both a hard and soft case.
The hard case is 4-by-2-by-1.2 inches, weighing six ounces or less, and available in both “Desert Tan” or “OD/Forest Green.”
Beyond those particulars, the hard case shall be:
    – Capable of limited cooking without effecting the container finish (i.e. paint bubbling)
    – Capable of being used as a limited digging implement without affecting its ability to house contents (simultaneous function of digging and housing not required).
    – Shall have a weather resistant gasket able to keep out water during minor water immersion (i.e. river crossings, swimming)
    – Shall have a fastening system that is reuseable and secure to prevent accidental openings
    – Top surface of kit must have permanently affixed a 2” x 3” piece of loop fastener (i.e. soft side of velcro)
    – Ruggedized to take heavy abuse while carried without damage to inner contents
    – Case shall securely hold all items below without rattling or other noises.
The soft case, measuring 3.5 by 2.25 inches, will feature a U.S. flag patch, be “subdued desert in color” and feature a “hook fastener (i.e. hard side of velcro) sewed to back with a slit in order to store and retrieve contents below yet hold contents down while worn.”

The SEAL’s hard-storage case will contain:
1.    Mini-Multi Tool with:
    a.    Stainless Steel
    b.    Pliers
    c.    Wire cutter
    d.    File
    e.    Awl
    f.     Packaged so as to not rattle in case
2.    Button Compass
    a.    Quality AA
    b.    14mm
    c.    Liquid dampened
    d.    Minimum 8 hour luminous
3.    LED Squeeze Light
    a.    Red
    b.    Continuous or Momentary Switch
4.    Fire Starting Kit
    a.    Ferro cerium rod not to exceed 3”L x 8mm W
    b.    Tinder tabs (4) packaged in reclosing bag.
5.    Water Storage Device
    a.    2L capacity
    b.    Able to hold all contents of the kit
    c.    Must be sealable and reuseable
    d.    Must be odor proof
6.    Water Purification Tablets
    a.    40 tablets
    b.    Packaged in amber, medical grade borosilicate
7.    Electrolyte Tablets
    a.    2 tablets
8.    Signal Mirror
    a.    2”x 3”
    b.    Non-mirrored side covered with an IR reflective material
    c.    Mirror side must be protected to prevent scratches. Protective cover must be able to be removed with one hand.
    d.    Must have an aiming hole
9.    Thermal Blanket
    a.    21” x 56” x .05mil
    b.    Polyester, aluminized
    c.    1 side silver, other side orange
    d.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts
10.  Kevlar Line
    a.    Yellow or green in color
    b.    188lb test
    c.    15 feet in length
    d.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts
11.  Safety Pins
    a.    Two #2 (1.5” steel)
    b.    Two #00 (.75” brass)
    c.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts.
12.  P-38 can opener
    a.    Packaged so as to not rattle while in case.
13.  Stainless Steel Wire
    a.    2’ of 20ga
14.  Duct Tape
    a.    Brown or Green in color
    b.    26” x 2”
15.  Fresnel Magnifying Lens
    a.    4x power
    b.    3.25” x 2”
16.  Waterproof Note Paper
    a.    4 sheets
    b.    Desert tan color
    c.    3.5” x 2”
17.  Ink Pen
    a.    Pressurized ink cartridge
    b.    Black in color
18.  Broad Spectrum Antibiotic Ointment
    a.    1/32oz foil pack
19.  Cotton Pad
    a.    100% Cotton
    b.    2” x 2.5”
    c.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts.
The contents of the soft storage case will include:
1.    Hacksaw Blade
    a.    Carbon Steel
    b.    24tpi
    c.    2.75” L
    d.    Hole in one end for a lanyard
    e.    Opposite hole end, sharpen down reverse tanto-style end.
2.    Ceramic Razor Blade

    a.    1 or 2 sides sharpened
    b.    Packaged so as to not accidentally cut anything or dull
3.    Moleskin Adhesive Patch
    a.    Heavy duty
    b.    1.75” x 2.5”
4.    Kevlar Thread
    a.    Green or yellow
    b.    100-200lb test
    c.    24” in length
    d.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts.
5.    Fishing Leader/Downrigger Cable
    a.    Multi-strand
    b.    Stainless steel
    c.    50lb  test
    d.    24” in length
6.    Suspended Navigation Magnet
    a.    Identifiable north painting feature
    b.    Magnet suspended from thread/string
    c.    Packaged in plastic with easy tear pre-cuts.
7.    Ferro Cerium Rod
    a.    1.75” L x .125”W
8.    Cotton Ball
    a.    Impregnated with wax.
    b.    Packaged in a reclosing bag.
9.    Bobby Pins
    a.    Spring steel
    b.    2 small
    c.    1 large
    d.    Black in color
10.  Handcuff Shim (Pick)
11.  Universal Handcuff Key
    a.    Non-metallic resin material


Don Williams said...

1) My guess is that the two bobby pins are to form a torsion wrench and lockpick --with the advantage that they can be hidden in head hair (to escape body searchs).

Similarly, the call for a ceramic razor blade may be to have a way to cut restraints (rope, cable ties,etc) that will not trigger a metal detector.

2) One of the more hilarious escape and evasion kits was the 1960s rectal insert developed by the CIA -- see

3) I suspect that kit was declassified because it was deemed unuseable -- a conclusion probably reached the first time the cap came loose while an escapee was running.

Don Williams said...

1) The orange thermal blanket is interesting. On the one hand, the orange would show up well on water for signaling to rescue parties.

And the aluminum covering on the other side would make a large radar reflector that --if held up -- would attract the notice of passing ships that would otherwise not notice a small life raft or floating swimmer.

2) But by the same token, the thermal blanket would also attract the notice of enemy searchers.

In WWII, the life rafts had cover tarps that were blue on one side and yellow on the other. Yellow side was turned up to attract the notice of US air searchers -- blue side was turned up to cover and conceal the life raft from Japanese fighters.

Don Williams said...

Also, military survival kits are often intended to be supplements to standard military gear -- i.e, used with idea that adequate clothing, military poncho, canteen, and a utility knife are also available.

They are not intended to be all you need if dropped bucknaked into the Arctic or frozen mountains of Afghanistan.