US tests futuristic new Manta Ray underwater drone

The craft is also capable of anchoring itself on the sea floor and “hibernating” in a low-power mode, according to Northrop Grumman.

It has also been designed to be easily transported around the world for rapid deployment.

The testing took place off the coast of southern California over the past three months.

Race to ‘dominate’ underwater warfare

But the United States is not the only country pressing ahead with development of newer and better underwater drones.

The Russian navy in January last year announced plans to acquire 30 of its Poseidon drones – a torpedo-shaped robotic mini-submarine that Russia claims can hit speeds of 100 knots.

Russian sources also claim its nuclear propulsion system would give it a range of 6,200 miles, while it is also said to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Ukraine has also raced ahead with the development of unmanned underwater vehicles, or UUVs, for its fight against Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

It has also revealed footage of the successful test of an underwater suicide attack drone, called Marichka.

Both the Russian and Ukrainian UUV projects differ from the Manta Ray because they are armed.

A closer analogue could be Australia’s Ghost Shark, a large underwater drone it hopes will fill the gap until it can get its hands on crewed, nuclear-powered submarines through the Aukus defence pact with Britain and the US.

Meanwhile, Britain is also developing a similar vehicle.

Ben Wallace in 2022 announced a plan for the Royal Navy to acquire a new robotic submarine within two years, to help Britain “dominate” underwater warfare.

Designed to work alongside the Royal Navy’s crewed submarines, Cetus is intended to be able to cover up to 1,000 miles in a single mission, which could last up to a week.

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