Revealed: Full specs on SEAL Team Six multimedia setup
Clandestine commandos insisted on iPod/iPhone dock
Updated to Add
This piece from 2009 seemed worth presenting again given the now worldwide fame achieved by the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (aka SEAL Team Six) following the killing of Osama bin Laden. The lavish multimedia/computer briefing rig described below will surely have been used in planning Operation Neptune Spear*, if not in briefing the operators who actually mounted the Abottabad raid - reportedly they carried out preparations for the mission at a base in Afghanistan.
There's interesting news this week for those interested in either super-secret, super-elite special forces units or top-end home entertainment and multimedia systems. The Register can exclusively** reveal full specs on the luxurious multimedia cinema "briefing" system soon to be installed at the headquarters of the shadowy "Tier One" US ubercommando unit formerly known as "Team 6".
This unit, nowadays formally titled the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG, or DevGru for short), selects its members from the US Navy's SEAL teams - themselves already an elite, secretive force of hand-picked commandos: the best of the best. However, the cream of the SEALs get the chance to go through even more insanely rigorous training and selection to join DevGru, meaning that the normal SEAL teams are perhaps the rest of the best of the best. This is why they are "Tier Two" special forces in US parlance, like US Army Green Berets - while the elite JSOC inner circle of Delta Force, DevGru and "the Activity" are Tier One.
Whatever. DevGru are certainly frightfully secret and deadly. It is generally thought, for instance, that it was DevGru snipers who killed three Somali pirates standing next to a captive US merchant skipper in a small lifeboat last month. The frogman-commandos apparently hit all three men in the head with simultaneous single shots fired from the deck of a US destroyer nearby, having earlier arrived on the scene by parachuting into the sea. Reports suggest that the DevGru SEALs had travelled all the way from their base in Virginia by jet transport.
At that base, of course, they will have been briefed beforehand. And it seems that the briefing facilities used just weren't up to snuff, because Reg sources** have revealed that DevGru bosses have ordered a palatial new "multimedia presentation system" to be installed at their HQ. According to procurement specs seen by the Reg**, the following features are required:
Three 52-inch LCD flatscreens with 1080p full-fat HD performance, and one similar of 46-inch size
Ceiling mounted speakers divided into three zones
Bluetooth portable touchscreen remotes, and wall-mounted touchscreens too
A central multimedia computer able to play both DVD and "Blue Rays" [sic], with 80GB to 160GB internal memory
An AV rack with "an 8x8 VGA with audio switcher, media components ... radio tuner, amplifier, processor, and video/RGB scaler"
Last but definitely not least, the SEALs specify that the system is to include an "iPod/iPhone docking bay", indicating that the Jesus mobe has penetrated even to the top-secret blackest heart of the US war machine. One does note that there's no requirement given for the setup to work with duller, more workaday handhelds such as BlackBerries, Nokias etc.
Naturally the setup is purely intended for use in official briefings. It will definitely not be used for watching movies, important sports events etc. ®
*While the unit which carried out the mission has officially not been named, only the SEALs - whose badge includes a trident - would call it that. And we can be sure that this was a Tier One job, not a task for the ordinary SEAL teams.
**Depressingly, our source is as ever the interwebs. We here on the Reg special-warfare and home cinema desk did meet some US Navy SEALs once, but a good deal of beer was consumed and nothing newsworthy was remembered the next day.