Google Maps Satellite Image Appears to Show US Prototype Underwater Drone

Aerial view of a dock with five vessels moored. Two large red boats are docked at either end, with three smaller boats between them. The central boat is a dark color, adjacent to a green vessel with visible solar panels. The dock is surrounded by water.
Keen observers have noticed the futuristic craft docked at a naval base in California.

A Google Maps satellite image has picked up what is believed to be a prototype U.S. military underwater drone north of Los Angeles.

Known as Manta Ray, the underwater unmanned vehicle (UUV) has been spotted by hawk-eyed observers at a naval base and shows the large scale of the drone compared to the ships around it.

The prototype was built by Northrop Grumman which describes it as the “first of its kind underwater glider.” It has only recently been tested in open water.

“Manta Ray is designed with cutting edge, underwater glider technology that has never been applied at this scale,” Northrop Grumman explains.

“By incorporating numerous buoyancy engines all working together efficiently. Manta Ray can operate for extended periods of time and travel long distances at a variety of depths.”

Aerial view of a harbor area with docks and several berthed ships. The land area surrounding the harbor has various buildings, parked vehicles, and cargo stacks. The water is a clear blue, and the harbor is connected to larger waterways beyond the docks.

The UUV can even anchor to the sea floor and hibernate until called upon. It is not clear exactly what the drone might be used for but News Nation reports that the technology is part of future “sea drone warfare” — something that America’s adversaries are also plotting for.

The Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been working on Manta Ray since 2020 but has not commented on the Google image or about its recent testing off the shore of California.

Northrop Grumman, the primary contractor for the James Webb Space Telescope, has released photos and video of Manta Ray including a 360-degree video of it in open water.

A partially submerged, overturned airplane is visible in calm ocean waters. The tail and part of the fuselage are above the waterline, while the nose remains underwater. A distant coastline with mountains is seen under a clear blue sky in the background.
One of the photos released by Northrop Grumman of Manta Ray.

Manta Ray is capable of traveling great distances at great speed and is also modular so it can be packed up and transported to a different location.

According to News Nation, Russia claims to have a nuclear-armed prototype UUV but some doubt whether this is true. Meanwhile China is thought to be mass-producing unmanned drones to create a “Great Wall” beneath the South China Sea.

However, not to be undone, the U.S. has a second Manta Ray prototype in the works which allegedly harvests energy from either the sea or the Sun — opening the possibility of infinite autonomous travel.