The US is developing an unmanned submarine that resembles a stingray
Unmanned submarine "Stingray" in photo posted on May 1. Photo: DARPA

The US is developing an unmanned submarine shaped like a stingray, large in size but can be easily disassembled and transported.

“The Northrop Grumman unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) ‘Stingray’ prototype completed comprehensive underwater testing off the coast of Southern California in February and March,” The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced on May 1.

Basically, UUVs operate like torpedoes or small submarines, but can also act as large mines. According to DARPA, the goal of the “Staray” project, which has lasted 5 years, is to create a class of long-range UUVs capable of carrying large loads and operating for long periods of time in sea areas around the world.

During the tests, DARPA tested the “Stingray” submarine’s methods of movement and control while underwater.

“Tests confirmed that the UUV was ready for real-world operations after it was quickly assembled from small modules in the field,” said Kyle Woerner, program director for “Fish Weak”, said.

Images released by DARPA show that this UUV is shaped like a large stingray. Mr. Woerner and another person were able to stand on this vehicle, proving that it is quite large in size compared to conventional UUVs.

The submarine can be easily transported and assembled from many parts, thereby making it capable of being deployed anywhere, including places where the US does not have naval bases.

“This is the first oversized UUV capable of being transported cross-country in module form, then assembled on-site and deployed immediately,” Woerner affirmed. “Being able to transport the vehicle to the operational area and then deploy it also saves energy that would have been expended during travel.”

Mr. Woerner (right) stands on the Stingray in the photo posted on May 1. Photo: DARPA

Mr. Woerner (right) stands on the “Stingray” in the photo posted on May 1. Photo: DARPA

He said the “Stingray” has many cargo compartments of different sizes and types, so it can perform many types of missions. DARPA is working with the US Navy to prepare for the next testing steps for the “Stingray” project.

The US Navy operates a variety of UUVs to perform reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering missions, in addition to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned surface vehicles (USVs).

In December 2023, Boeing Corporation announced the handover to this force of the first unmanned submarine, “Killer Whale” (Orca). The company considers it to be the “most modern and powerful” UUV in the world today, partly thanks to its ability to operate continuously for many months.

The US Navy plans to commission many UUV models of different sizes, the largest of which is the Orca submarine.