NewsU.S. navy's secret Manta-Ray drone exposed by Google Maps

U.S. navy's secret Manta-Ray drone exposed by Google Maps

"Manta Ray" is the most advanced unmanned American naval drone, constituting a formidable asset in naval warfare.
"Manta Ray" is the most advanced unmanned American naval drone, constituting a formidable asset in naval warfare.
Images source: © Google Earth, Northrop Grumman
Robert Kędzierski

29 June 2024 14:03

Internet users utilising Google Maps' satellite function stumbled upon an unusual sight at the Port Hueneme naval base in California. The images clearly show an experimental underwater drone shaped like a manta ray, which was supposed to remain strictly secret.

Manta Ray is an advanced project of the U.S. Navy, aiming to create an autonomous submarine with a long-range and low energy consumption. This unit has been in the testing phase for about three years, and its existence was meant to remain a secret. Therefore, its discovery on publicly available satellite images surprises observers.

Manta Ray on Google Maps

The appearance of Manta Ray images on Google Maps raises questions about whether this is an accidental disclosure of secret information or a deliberate action by the U.S. Navy. Some speculate that it may be a communication directed at rival powers, such as Russia or China, with whom the United States has tense relations.

Interestingly, the images have not been removed or blurred on Google Maps despite the passage of time since the discovery. Usually, military areas are censored on publicly available maps, which further fuels speculation about the intentions behind this incident. Platform users can still freely view the secret unit.

A new kind of submarine

Manta Ray represents a new generation of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV). Its unique shape, inspired by the manta ray, is designed to ensure high performance and operational efficiency. The U.S. Navy has high hopes for this project in the context of future maritime operations and increasing its technological advantage.

It is worth noting that the United States is not the only country developing this type of technology. Last year, Russia announced working on its unmanned underwater drone. France is also researching similar systems through the Naval Group company, commissioned by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA).

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