New ‘Manta Ray’ Underwater Drones Announced By Northrop Grumman

According to a new video, huge underwater drones may sneak into enemy seas undetected.

Northrop Grumman, an aerospace and military tech firm, presented the first Manta Ray Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle (UUV) prototype. The technology is specifically designed to reduce the need for human intervention in tasks requiring lengthy durations and extensive distances.

On April 8, the Virginia-based military contractor presented a snapshot of the vehicle at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference in Maryland. The picture showed a sleek body and a curved front, but the size was not revealed. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the Manta Ray program in 2020.

According to a government website, DARPA, the principal research and development arm of the US Department of Defense, takes a creative, high-risk approach to advancing technology for national security.

The internet (which came from ARPANET), stealth planes, driverless cars, and messenger RNA vaccination technology are just a few of the technological advancements made possible by DARPA.

As a result of DARPA’s efforts, mRNA vaccine technology was developed, which was then used to manufacture COVID-19 vaccinations.

Back to the drones, the objective was to design a large undersea vehicle capable of operating without human intervention.  PacMar Technologies and Northrop worked with DARPA to develop the first drone models.

Northrop Grumman CEO Todd Leavitt said they are developing a new kind of UUV that does not require refueling or maintenance.

DARPA claims the Manta Ray is ideal for underwater warfare, mine detection, passive monitoring, and underwater mapping.

Underwater danger awareness and threat counter-detection are two of the many potential uses for the Manta Ray that the agency has highlighted.

Its potential uses are comparable to those of the Navy’s UVV, which Boeing is currently developing. The US Navy is also planning to build a hybrid fleet consisting of sailors and Marines augmented by smart gear.