To realize its project of submarine drones with infinite autonomy, Darpa is embarking on the construction phase of a prototype.
A dronestealth capable of evolving underwater in an infinite way without ever returning to its base, here is the in the USA. Called Manta Ray, this program is under development and Darpa has just awarded contracts to Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation and Martin Defense Group for the of a prototype. To create the power supply system perpetual, the Metron company was sponsored. It is the circulation of water in small propellers that could make it possible to produce electricity to run the submarine’s propulsion system.
At the moment, it is not clear what technology will be on board to generate electricity, but the concept of energy recoveryis not a first. It has already been tested on surface vessels of the » « . These combine solar energy and that generated by to ensure their propulsion. Last year an experimental boat was able to sail for more than a year and travel 16,000 kilometers from San Francisco to dock in Australia.
An energy recovery system should make it possible to supply the propulsion and onboard systems of the submarine indefinitely. © Darpa
Designed for stealth
On the artist’s views of the Manta Ray, one can notice its unusual shape. It allows it to have minimal drag to optimize energy expenditure, while providing it with stealth capabilities. The Manta Ray will also have ato be able to identify and communicate with surrounding vessels and . On the operational side, the submarine could be used to embark and electronic warfare equipment. It could also make it possible to discreetly deposit acoustic on the , or the new US Navy Hammerhead marine drone mine.