DARPA Selects Performers to Build Manta Ray Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

  • Our Bureau
  • 06:04 AM, December 21, 2021
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DARPA Selects Performers to Build Manta Ray Unmanned Underwater Vehicles
Artist’s concept of a Manta Ray UUV @DARPA

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to build and test Manta Ray unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

The effort seeks to demonstrate innovative technologies allowing payload-capable autonomous UUVs to operate on long-duration, long-range missions in ocean environments. The two prime contractors, Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation and Martin Defense Group, are each developing unique full-scale demonstration vehicles, DARPA said in a release.

DARPA Selects Performers to Build Manta Ray Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

The Manta Ray program seeks to develop UUVs that operate for extended durations without the need for on-site human logistics support or maintenance. In Phase 1 of the program, performers designed and conducted preliminary testing on novel approaches in energy management, UUV reliability, biofouling and corrosion control, navigation, and undersea obstacle avoidance, among other areas that directly enable long-endurance missions.

The Manta Ray program concluded Phase 1 with Critical Design Reviews that demonstrated design maturity and readiness for advancement to Phase 2. The selected performers will now work on subsystem testing followed by fabrication and in-water demonstrations of full-scale integrated vehicles.

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