US, Australia Introduce Uncrewed Underwater Manta Ray Drone

By Madz Dizon

May 14, 2024 10:07 AM EDT

US, Australia Introduce Uncrewed Underwater Manta Ray Drone(STR/AFP via Getty Images) (Credit: Getty Image)

The United States and Australia have unveiled what is described as a prototype unmanned underwater vehicle, or drone. The names given to these drones include Ghost Shark and Manta Ray.

Experts now believe that submersibles might represent the future of underwater warfare. 

Australia, US Unveil Ghost Shark and Manta Ray Underwater Drones

Ghost Shark and Manta Ray are the names of prototype uncrewed underwater vehicles - UUVs or drones - recently released by Australia and the United States, showcasing their advancements in underwater technology.

The use of drones in aerial warfare has become a regular occurrence. According to Telegraph, the Manta Ray prototype, created by US aviation company Northrop Grumman, is a crucial component of a US navy initiative to advance a new generation of underwater drones with extended mission capabilities.

The autonomous craft, pictured alongside a small boat, has been ingeniously engineered to navigate the ocean for extended periods without any human intervention or the requirement for refueling.

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DARPA Highlights Manta Ray's Modularity and Mission Versatility

A prototype of Northrop Grumman's Manta Ray was tested off Southern California in February and March, marking America's latest UUV entry.

The Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA), the Pentagon branch responsible for developing new technologies, highlights the strength of Manta Ray in its modularity, CNN reported. 

This allows for the seamless switching out of payloads based on the specific mission requirements. According to Northrop Grumman, the equipment can be disassembled, transported in five standard shipping containers, and easily reassembled at its deployment location.

In addition, it was pointed out that the Manta Ray's modular transport method allows it to conserve internal energy for its mission, rather than expanding it to reach the deployment site.

Similar to the Orca, the Manta Ray has not made progress as rapidly as the Ghost Shark. The program was initiated in 2020, and DARPA did not provide a specific objective for the Manta Ray or any of its variations to be incorporated into the US fleet.

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