When a U.S. chemical weapons expert is kidnapped by enemy agents, the Navy's top SEAL team, The Steel Sharks, are ordered to go behind enemy lines to rescue him. Commanded by Wild Bill McKay (Gary Busey) and aided by a wary rookie Bob Rogers (Billy Warlock), the Sharks manage to rescue the scientist, but are ambushed as they return to their machine. Taken aboard an enemy patrol sub, the SEAL team are now the hostages in an escalating conflict. Admiral Perry, on board a USS aircraft carrier, plans to rescue the "Sharks", but cannot attack the sub or the SEAL team will be killed. Bob Rogers must find the confidence to lead the team to safety, along the the length of a submarine filled with armed enemy soldiers, into the escape hatch.