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Google Maps Exposes Secret US Naval Drone ‘Manta Ray’

Google Maps Exposes Secret US Naval Drone ‘Manta Ray’

Internet users were recently taken by surprise when they discovered an unusual sight on Google Maps: a US naval submarine drone called the ‘Manta Ray’ docked at Port Hueneme naval base in California.

US naval submarine drone ‘Manta Ray’ spotted

This sighting stirred a mix of curiosity and concern, leading many to question whether this was a deliberate reveal or a security oversight. Soon after, the image was replaced with that of a normal ship, adding to the mystery.

The Manta Ray submarine drone is a sophisticated piece of technology designed to remain underwater for extended periods. Equipped with advanced sensors, it is capable of detecting underwater threats and hibernating on the sea floor without the need for frequent refueling. This unique drone uses buoyancy to glide seamlessly through the water, both below and above the surface.

One of the standout features of the Manta Ray is its modular design, allowing it to be disassembled and transported in standard shipping containers. This eliminates the necessity for dedicated port facilities, making its deployment more flexible and efficient. The modular design enables the Manta Ray to be reassembled and deployed in various locations as needed.

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Built by Northrop Grumman for a US Navy project

Built by Northrop Grumman as part of a US Navy project, the Manta Ray represents a significant advancement in underwater warfare technology. The project aims to develop long-range underwater weapons, with the Manta Ray at the forefront. The drone’s ability to hibernate on the seafloor for extended periods without refueling highlights its potential for long-term, covert operations.

The Manta Ray is designed with several payload bays of varying sizes, allowing it to undertake a wide range of naval missions. Despite its name suggesting a creature of the sea, the Manta Ray drone seemed to vanish from the internet as quickly as it appeared, leaving many to speculate about the true nature and capabilities of this top-secret aquatic weapon.

Adding to the intrigue, reports suggest that the Manta Ray’s adversary boasts a drone with a range of about 6,200 miles, capable of reaching speeds up to 100 knots (approximately 115 mph) and potentially being armed with nuclear weapons. This revelation underscores the high stakes and cutting-edge technology involved in modern naval warfare.

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Aircraft comparison

Comparsion between Turkish T929 ATAK-II and Russia Ka-52

Comparsion between Turkish T929 ATAK-II and Russia Ka-52

The Turkish T929 ATAK-II and the Russian Ka-52 are both formidable attack helicopters that have garnered significant attention in the realm of military aviation. Representing cutting-edge technology and advanced capabilities, these rotorcraft serve as vital components of their respective nation’s aerial forces.

In this comparison, we delve into the design, performance, weaponry, and operational characteristics of Both aircraft, offering insights into their strengths, limitations, and the strategic implications of their deployment. By examining these two helicopters side by side, we gain a comprehensive understanding of their role in modern warfare and the dynamics of competition and cooperation within the global defense industry.

Turkish Aerospace Industries is developing a twin-engine, heavy assault helicopter called the TAI T929 ATAK 2. The helicopter is designed for attack, electronic warfare, and reconnaissance missions in all-weather environments in both day and night conditions.The ATAK II, which made its maiden flight on April 28, 2023, is currently in development. It is projected that the Turkish Army will receive it starting in 2025.

The Ka-52, also known as the Alligator, is a cutting-edge attack helicopter designed by Russia’s Kamov Design Bureau. It is meant to excel in a variety of roles, including reconnaissance, close air support, and anti-armor combat. It also serves as an icon of Russian helicopter engineering, demonstrating outstanding skills and versatility in combat operations.

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The TAI T929 ATAK 2 and the Russian KA-52 are both attack helicopters designed for military purposes. Here’s a comparison between the two helicopters.

Armament: The T929 ATAK 2 is equipped with a 20mm chin-mounted cannon, air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, rockets, and guided munitions.while Ka-52 is equipped with a range of armament options, including anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, unguided rockets, and a 30mm automatic cannon.

Engine: The Turkish T929 ATAK-II, propelled by two TV3-117 turboshaft engines, each generating 1,864.25 kW (2,500.00 hp) of power, contrasts with the Russian Ka-52, which relies on 2 × Klimov VK-2500 turboshaft engines, boasting 1,800 kW (2,400 shp) each.

In terms of dimensions, ATAK 2 is slightly smaller, with a length of 13.45 meters and a height of 3.96 meters. Whereas Ka-52 measures 16.00 meters in length and 4.93 meters in height.

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Speed: In terms of speed, the ATAK 2 boasts a maximum speed of 318 km/h (198 mph, 172 kn), slightly surpassing the Ka-52’s maximum speed of about 310 knots (574 km/h).

However, the cruise speed of the ATAK 2 at 314 km/h (195 mph, 170 kn) is notably faster than the Ka-52’s 270 km/h (170 mph, 150 kn).

Additionally, the ATAK 2 has a maximum takeoff weight of 10,000 kg (22,046 lb), slightly lower than the Ka-52’s 10,800 kg (23,810 lb).

Finally, in terms of service ceiling, the ATAK 2 surpasses the Ka-52 with a service ceiling of 6,096 m (20,000 ft), compared to the Ka-52’s 5,500 m (18,000 ft).

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The T929 helicopter is equipped with tandem seats, an asymmetrical weapons bay, a large capacity for ammunition, a low IR signature, a digital cockpit, ballistic protection, better avionics, and the potential to engage in electronic warfare and countermeasure operations.

The Ka-52 is equipped with a “Phazotron” cockpit radio-locator, allowing flights in adverse meteorological conditions and at night. The necessary information acquired by this radio-locator is transferred to the cockpit’s multi-functional display screen. The Ka-52 has a self-defense package that comprises flares and chaff to deflect incoming missiles, radar and laser warning systems, and other defenses. 

The initiation of the T929 ATAK II’s development gained significant momentum in 2019, driven by the vision of providing Turkey with its own helicopter tailored for the national army. Beyond serving domestic needs, the helicopter has now emerged as a potential export asset. This newfound global appeal is particularly noteworthy as the T929 ATAK II competes with high-cost American rotorcraft, positioning itself as a competitive and cost-effective alternative in the international market.

KA-52 helicopter is the only one in the world having a certain technologically advanced feature that is not offered by any other helicopter. A pilot ejection device is also equipped with this helicopter in case of an emergency landing or collision. The seats are equipped with rocket-assisted ejection systems, and each crew member has a separate ejection mechanism.

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