Earlier this month, British technology group Kraken announced a strategic collaboration with American tech company L3Harris to advance and refine their innovative uncrewed surface-subsurface vehicle (USSV) platform, the K40 MANTA.

This partnership represents a pivotal step in the evolution of Kraken’s maritime capabilities and is poised to shape the future of autonomous marine operations.

The collaboration is set to harness the expertise of L3Harris in developing cutting-edge control systems to elevate the K40 MANTA’s capabilities, setting the stage for enhanced autonomy and, ultimately, full autonomy in maritime missions.

K40 MANTA: A Versatile Maritime Platform

The K40 MANTA is a remarkable, dolphin-like marine craft designed to excel in Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) roles.

It boasts a high-performance foiling carbon structure and is engineered for extended-duration loiter and sleeper modes, enabling it to remain operational in theater for extended periods.

With a substantial payload capacity of up to 2,205 pounds (1,000 kilograms) and the ability to be modularly configured for specific roles, the K40 MANTA is a versatile and adaptable platform for a variety of maritime operations.

Enhancing Autonomy through Collaboration

One of the key objectives of the collaboration between Kraken and L3Harris is to develop and integrate advanced control systems that will propel the K40 MANTA toward enhanced autonomy.

These integrated control systems will be pivotal in enabling remote control of the uncrewed platform for various purposes, including engineering testing, foil development, powertrain calibration, and initial demonstrations during the early stages of development.

Mal Crease, the Founder and CEO of Kraken Technology Group, expressed his enthusiasm for this collaboration, stating:

“We look forward to working with L3Harris on the implementation of key systems for K40 MANTA as a foundation for future developments.”

The partnership is expected to unlock new possibilities in maritime technology and propel the K40 MANTA to the forefront of autonomous underwater vehicles.

Versatility and Extended Mission Capabilities

The K40 MANTA’s capabilities extend beyond traditional reconnaissance, as it is equipped for electronic warfare and possesses strike capabilities.

These enhancements make the submersible drone a versatile asset in a wide range of maritime operations. Moreover, its advanced design ensures it can operate autonomously for up to 10 days, enhancing its effectiveness for extended missions.

Ease of Deployment and Adaptability

The vessel is also designed for ease of deployment, stowage, and recovery from various types of vessels, providing flexibility and adaptability in deployment scenarios.

Furthermore, it can carry unmanned aerial vehicle loitering sensors or munitions, adding to its reconnaissance and strike capabilities.

Advanced Sensor Capabilities

Kraken’s K40 MANTA is engineered with an ISTAR data collection and distribution system featuring Electro-Optical (EO) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) capabilities.

Additionally, it is equipped with seabed sensors and sonobuoys, making it a powerful asset for maritime surveillance and data gathering.

Rapid Deployment for Swift Response

A unique feature of the K40 MANTA is its rapid deployment capabilities.

The vessel can be transported to any location via an ISO container or a C-130 aircraft, making it a versatile and reliable system that can quickly respond to changing operational requirements.

Stealth and Efficiency in Design

The K40 MANTA is designed with an emphasis on stealth and efficiency. Its advanced composite structure and foiling design reduce visibility across various spectrums, including visual, acoustic, radar, and thermal.

This stealth profile ensures that the vessel can operate discreetly in a variety of maritime environments without being easily detected.

Variability in Size and Depth Capabilities

The vessel is available in different sizes, catering to specific operational needs.

The MANTA 36 and MANTA 18 can operate at depths of up to 98 feet (30 meters), while the smaller MANTA 12 is limited to a maximum depth of 6.6 feet (2 meters).

This versatility in size and depth capabilities allows for flexibility in mission planning and execution.


L3Harris and Kraken: A Synergistic Partnership

The partnership between Kraken Technology and L3Harris brings together two industry leaders with complementary skills and expertise.

L3Harris, with its experience and resources, is well-equipped to develop the advanced control systems required to seamlessly integrate with the K40 MANTA platform.

Mark Exeter, Managing Director, ASV, L3Harris, stated:

“L3Harris is proud to collaborate with Kraken on this groundbreaking platform. Our two companies possess complementary skills, benefiting both organizations through this venture.”

This collaboration holds great promise and could lead to broader collaborations, leveraging their shared expertise and proximity to Portsmouth, a renowned UK marine innovation hub.

Integrating L3Harris’ control systems into the K40 MANTA is a crucial step toward achieving enhanced autonomy for this remarkable maritime platform, as these systems will be instrumental in controlling and managing the vehicle’s operations, enabling it to carry out various tasks with precision and efficiency.

Future Prospects

One of the key objectives is to enable the K40 MANTA to perform autonomous operations for an extended period, surpassing ten days.

The K40 MANTA’s current capabilities are impressive, but with the integration of advanced control systems, it is expected to achieve even greater autonomy, making it a valuable asset for prolonged missions, reconnaissance, and data gathering.

The collaboration between Kraken and L3Harris underscores the significance of innovation and collaboration in the maritime industry.

It represents a bold step towards advancing autonomous marine technologies, and experts in the field eagerly anticipate the results of this partnership.

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