Northrop Grumman’s Manta Ray: DARPA’s Revolutionary UUV Testing

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DARPA's Revolutionary UUV Testing
DARPA's Revolutionary UUV Testing

April saw the revealing of a groundbreaking innovation in unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV), courtesy of Northrop Grumman. Dubbed the Manta Ray, this vehicle emerged after rigorous testing overseen by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Initiated four years ago, DARPA’s program aimed to develop versatile underwater vehicles capable of undertaking prolonged missions across vast ocean expanses.

Northrop Grumman’s project, alongside PacMar Technologies’ effort, received DARPA’s nod for advancement. Notably, Northrop Grumman’s model, showcased in early April, had already undergone comprehensive in-water testing between February and March, a development revealed only recently.

Resembling a formidable denizen of the deep, the Manta Ray boasts a streamlined design akin to its namesake. Impressively sized, the vehicle accommodates two individuals comfortably.

DARPA's Revolutionary UUV Testing
DARPA’s Revolutionary UUV Testing

While specific details remain undisclosed, DARPA stipulated that the Manta Ray must harness cutting-edge technologies, including underwater energy harvesting capabilities and materials resilient against deep-sea hazards like biofouling and corrosion.

Crucially, DARPA also assessed logistical aspects, emphasizing rapid deployment readiness worldwide. Notably, the vehicle’s assembly occurred on-site in California after shipping in sections from Maryland, underscoring its adaptability and mobility.

While details regarding operational timelines remain undisclosed, the completion of tests signals Manta Ray’s progression toward real-world deployment. Primarily intended for military applications, the U.S. Navy is actively involved in planning forthcoming trials. Meanwhile, Pacmar’s Manta-Ray, last reported on in October 2023, continues its testing phase, focusing on energy harvesting systems throughout 2024.


By Rajdeep Singh

Rajdeep (New Delhi) sparks electric vehicle enthusiasm with engaging content, empowering everyone to join the EV revolution.

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