Northrop Grumman reveals the completed Manta Ray UUV, changing the underwater

Northrop Grumman Corporation has achieved a significant milestone with the completion of assembly for the Manta Ray, a full-size uncrewed underwater vehicle (UUV) prototype. This innovative UUV represents a new class of extra-large gliders designed to conduct long-duration, long-range, and payload-capable undersea missions autonomously, without the need for human logistics on-site. The development of Manta Ray was made possible through a program led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), aimed at advancing critical technologies to enhance future UUV designs.

The Manta Ray UUV addresses the growing demand for persistent operations in forward environments, where traditional host vessels may face limitations. By eliminating the need for human-present logistic support or maintenance, these autonomous systems offer increased operational flexibility and reduced workload for servicing ports. This capability allows for independent deployment from manned vessels and ports once deployed, thereby amplifying the capacity of combatant commanders without disrupting ongoing operations.

Northrop Grumman Completes Assembly of Manta Ray Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle

Key objectives of the Manta Ray program include the advancement of various technologies crucial for future UUV designs. These technologies encompass:

  1. Novel energy management techniques tailored for UUV operations, along with undersea energy harvesting methods at depths relevant to operational requirements.
  2. Low-power, high-efficiency propulsion systems suitable for undersea environments.
  3. Development of low-power methods for underwater detection and classification of hazards or counter-detection threats.
  4. Mission management strategies optimized for extended durations while adapting to dynamic maritime environments.
  5. Utilization of existing maritime data sets and exploration of novel maritime parameters for efficient navigation and command, control, and communication (C3).
  6. Innovative approaches to mitigate challenges such as biofouling, corrosion, and material degradation during long-duration missions.

Through the Manta Ray program, Northrop Grumman and DARPA aim to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of these advanced technologies in enabling a new class of UUVs capable of operating autonomously for extended periods and distances. The successful implementation of these technologies could revolutionize undersea missions, offering enhanced capabilities to military and scientific applications while reducing reliance on traditional support infrastructure.

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