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Manta Ray UUV Completes In-Water Testing

Manta Ray UUV on the surface between test dives off the coast of Southern California [Northrop Grumman photo]

The Manta Ray prototype uncrewed underwater vehicle (UUV) built by Northrop Grumman has completed full-scale, in-water testing.

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DARPA Press Release, Arlington VA, 01 May 2024: The Manta Ray prototype uncrewed underwater vehicle (UUV) built by performer Northrop Grumman completed full-scale, in-water testing off the coast of Southern California in February and March 2024. Testing demonstrated at-sea hydrodynamic performance, including submerged operations using all the vehicle’s modes of propulsion and steering: buoyancy, propellers, and control surfaces.

“Our successful, full-scale Manta Ray testing validates the vehicle’s readiness to advance toward real-world operations after being rapidly assembled in the field from modular subsections,” said Dr. Kyle Woerner, DARPA program manager for Manta Ray. “The combination of cross-country modular transportation, in-field assembly, and subsequent deployment demonstrates a first-of-kind capability for an extra-large UUV.”

Northrop Grumman shipped the Manta Ray prototype in subsections from the build location in Maryland to its test location in California. The demonstrated ease of shipping and assembly supports the possibility of rapid deployment throughout the world without crowding valuable pier space at naval facilities.

“Shipping the vehicle directly to its intended area of operation conserves energy that the vehicle would otherwise expend during transit,” said Woerner. “Once deployed, the vehicle uses efficient, buoyancy-driven gliding to move through the water. The craft is designed with several payload bays of multiple sizes and types to enable a wide variety of naval mission sets.”

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