US Navy's Secret "Manta Ray" Underwater Drone Spotted

US Navy’s Secret “Manta Ray” Underwater Drone Spotted

US Navy’s Secret “Manta Ray” Underwater Drone Spotted, marking a significant leap in autonomous naval technology. This secretive project, developed by Northrop Grumman, represents a new frontier in long duration, unmanned underwater operations.

Key Features of the Manta Ray

  1. Autonomous Operation: The drone functions without human intervention, revolutionizing naval missions.
  2. Versatile Payload Capacity: Multiple bays of various sizes allow for diverse mission capabilities.
  3. Energy Efficiency: Equipped with the ability to anchor to the seafloor and enter a low-power “hibernation” state.
  4. Modular Design: Easily transportable in five standard shipping containers, enabling rapid global deployment.

Recent successful tests off the southern California coast have demonstrated the Manta Ray’s impressive hydrodynamic performance. The exercises showcased its submerged operations using various propulsion and steering modes, including buoyancy, propellers, and control surfaces.

Dr. Kyle Woerner, DARPA’s program manager, emphasized the drone’s readiness for real-world operations following its successful full-scale testing. This achievement validates the vehicle’s ability to be rapidly assembled from modular subsections in the field.

The Manta Ray project aligns with the Department of Defense’s growing interest in uncrewed technologies for battlefield applications. Defense analysts view this development as a strategic move by the Pentagon to counter advancements in underwater drone technology by other nations, particularly Russia and China.

Also read this: Northrop Grumman’s Manta Ray Undersea Drone Aces Water Tests

For context, Russia has announced plans to acquire 30 Poseidon drones, torpedo-shaped robotic mini-submarines claimed to reach speeds of 100 knots. China has also displayed interest in similar technology, exhibiting a scale model of a Poseidon-like drone at a recent defense exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

The U.S. Navy’s goal with the Manta Ray initiative is to establish a hybrid fleet, combining the skills of sailors and Marines with advanced machinery, sensors, and weapons. This approach aims to enhance naval capabilities while potentially reducing risks to human personnel in dangerous underwater missions.

As underwater warfare evolves, the Manta Ray represents a significant advancement in naval technology. Its development underscores the shifting landscape of maritime defense and the increasing role of autonomous systems in military strategy.

The unveiling of the Manta Ray drone not only demonstrates the US Navy’s commitment to technological innovation but also signals a new era in naval warfare where unmanned systems play a crucial role in maintaining maritime superiority and national security.

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