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Ryan Robertson

Investigative Reporter/Anchor

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Military

New stealth technology could be coming to the Navy: Weapon of the week

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Ryan Robertson

Investigative Reporter/Anchor

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For nearly 20 years, the U.S. Navy has been working to make stealth technology part of how it operates. One notable example is the Zumwalt-class destroyer, which uses guided missiles for stealth attacks. Now, the destroyer could have some company in the form of the K4 MANTA.

The K4 MANTA is built by the Kraken Technology Group. It acts as an underwater stealth drone and is classified as an USSV — an Uncrewed Surface-Subsurface Vessel.

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A promotional video from Kraken Technology details some of the vessel’s attributes, including features like 10 days of autonomous operations, a modular payload bay, and the ability to help carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. With a top speed of 45 knots — a little more than 50 miles per hour — the MANTA has a range of 300 miles.

The MANTA is engineered with an aerodynamic and hydrodynamic hull that can cruise above the surface of open water until it’s time to take cover. That’s when the stealth technology comes in — the K4 MANTA can slip beneath the waves, leaving behind a low acoustic signature and potentially linking up with other pre-staged MANTAS to help with an attack.

The K4 MANTA recently got some real-world work after partnering with the U.S. Special Operations Command for a technical experimentation event. According to a post on Kraken Technology’s Facebook page, the December gathering was successful.

There is no official word from the government on if or when these K4 MANTAS could officially join U.S. naval warfare.

Access the full Weapons and Warfare episode here.

Access all Weapons and Warfare podcast episodes here.

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[RYAN ROBERTSON]

CHANCES ARE WHEN YOU THINK OF STEALTH TECHNOLOGY, YOU THINK OF AIRCRAFT LIKE THE B-2 BOMBER, OR MAYBE THE NOW-RETIRED F-117 NIGHTHAWK.

BUT FOR NEARLY 20 YEARS THE NAVY HAS BEEN WORKING TO MAKE STEALTH TECHNOLOGY A PART OF HOW THEY OPERATE AS WELL. THE MOST NOTABLE IS THE ZUMWALT CLASS DESTROYER. BUT IT COULD SOON HAVE SOME COMPANY.

MEET THE MANTA-4. BUILT BY THE KRAKEN TECHNOLOGY GROUP, THE MANTA IS DESCRIBED AS AN UNDERWATER STEALTH DRONE.

CLASSIFIED AS A USSV, OR UNCREWED SURFACE-SUBSURFACE VESSEL, IT LOOKS A BIT LIKE A HIGH-TECH FOIL SURFBOARD. A PROMOTIONAL VIDEO FROM KRAKEN TECHNOLOGY DETAILS SOME OF THE VESSEL’S ATTRIBUTES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ELECTRONIC WARFARE, AND CARRYING A PAYLOAD, LIKE A TRADITIONAL COMMERCIAL DRONE. WITH A TOP SPEED OF 45 KNOTS OR A LITTLE MORE THAN 50 MILES PER HOUR, THE MANTA HAS A RANGE OF 300 MILES.

ENGINEERED WITH AN AERODYNAMIC AND HYDRODYNAMIC HULL THAT CAN CRUISE THE OPEN WATER ABOVE THE SURFACE, UNTIL IT’S TIME TO TAKE COVER. THAT’S WHERE THE STEALTH COMES IN. SLIPPING BENEATH THE WAVES, LEAVING BEHIND A LOW ACOUSTIC SIGNATURE, AND POTENTIALLY LINKING UP WITH OTHER PRE-STAGED MANTAS TO HELP DELIVER A DEVASTATING ATTACK.

WHILE THAT DEMONSTRATION EXISTED ONLY IN TWO DIMENSIONS, THE MANTA-4 RECENTLY GOT SOME REAL-WORLD WORK. PARTNERING WITH THE U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND FOR A TECHNICAL EXPERIMENTATION EVENT. ACCORDING TO A POST ON THE COMPANY’S FACEBOOK PAGE, THE DECEMBER GET-TOGETHER WAS SUCCESSFUL.

WHILE THERE’S NO OFFICIAL WORD FROM ANYONE ON THE GOVERNMENT SIDE OF THINGS, FEATURES LIKE TEN DAYS OF AUTONOMOUS OPERATIONS, A MODULAR PAYLOAD BAY AND THE ABILITY TO HELP CARRY OUT INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE AND RECONNAISSANCE MISSIONS HAVE MADE IT AN INTRIGUING OPTION FOR THOSE ENGAGED IN NAVAL WARFARE.