California filmed the Northrup’s massive undersea "monster" weapon

    WORLD  24 June 2024 - 00:04

    BulgarianMilitary.com carries an article about Northrup’s massive undersea "monster" weapon, Caliber.Az reprints the article.

    Northrop Grumman’s Manta Ray submersible underwater drone has been a topic of intrigue for quite some time. When it comes to its exact dimensions, we’ve only gained a clearer picture in the past few months, and even in recent days. Despite one of the satellite images being captured a year ago, this image, alongside another more recent one, has been making rounds on social media. 

    Seen docked at the Port Hueneme Naval Base in California, the Manta Ray cuts an imposing figure. The War Zone even likens its size to that of an interstellar ship from Star Wars, as if it had landed on the planet Tatooine. You can check out this image via Google Earth, taken in November 2023, which also offers a 3D visualization to grasp the Manta Ray’s enormity better. 

    Even on paper, its stats are impressive. Official data reveals the Manta Ray submersible drone to be around 30 feet in length. This size accommodates intricate sensors and communications equipment while retaining a sleek design for efficient underwater movement. The width, including its wingspan, reaches about 20 feet, critical for maintaining stability and maneuverability underwater, enabling the drone to glide effortlessly. Height-wise, the Manta Ray stands at approximately 5 feet.

    What do we know about the Manta Ray?

    The Northrop Grumman Manta Ray submersible drone is an advanced underwater vehicle designed for a variety of military and research applications. It is part of a broader initiative to develop autonomous systems capable of extended underwater operations without the need for human intervention. 

    The Manta Ray utilizes a range of sophisticated systems to ensure its functionality and effectiveness. These include advanced sonar and sensor arrays for navigation and detection, communication systems for data transmission, and AI-driven software for autonomous decision-making and mission planning. 

    What in-water tests did the American Manta Ray UUV prototype conduct

    Propulsion for the Manta Ray is achieved through a combination of electric motors and energy-efficient propellers. This design allows for quiet operation, which is crucial for stealth missions and minimizing detection by adversaries.

    Manta Ray’s equipment

    Technologically, the Manta Ray is equipped with cutting-edge features such as high-resolution imaging systems, environmental monitoring tools, and payload bays that can be customized for specific missions. The primary purpose of the Manta Ray is to enhance underwater operational capabilities for the military. It can be deployed for intelligence gathering, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare, among other tasks. Its versatility also makes it suitable for non-military applications like oceanographic research and underwater infrastructure inspection. 

    What in-water tests did the American Manta Ray UUV prototype conduct

    The operational range of the Manta Ray is designed to be extensive, allowing it to cover large areas without needing frequent resurfacing. This capability is supported by its energy-efficient systems and advanced battery technology, providing it with significant operational endurance. 

    The Manta Ray can remain underwater for extended periods, often measured in weeks or even months, depending on the mission requirements and environmental conditions. This long-duration capability is a key feature that sets it apart from many other submersible drones, enabling sustained operations in challenging underwater environments.

    There are still unknowns

    Since 2020, Northrop Grumman has been developing the Manta Ray underwater drone. This initiative, under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA], aims to design autonomous underwater vehicles for long-term missions without human intervention. In 2023, the first tests of the Manta Ray submersible drone took place, evaluating its performance in diverse underwater environments and its capability to execute advanced missions autonomously. 

    While the exact number of Manta Rays slated for production remains undisclosed, the strategic value of these autonomous underwater vehicles suggests that production numbers will hinge on the success of these initial tests and further evaluations. 

    If the early tests prove successful, the production and deployment of the Manta Ray submersible drones could commence in the latter half of this decade. This timeline allows for refinements and enhancements based on test outcomes, ensuring these drones meet the operational needs of the US Navy and other potential stakeholders.

    Caliber.Az

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