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A drone disguised as a manta ray will be used by British troops for military intelligence. The near undetectable drone will be deployed by the UK Royal Marines for surveillance of warships and submarines. Benefitting from its silent fish-like propulsion, the drone will be near undetectable while snooping for information from vessels in the water.
The drone was developed by Animal Dynamics – who specialise in the development of civilian and military drones that mimic wildlife.
The ‘Raydrive’ is a 1m by 1.25m underwater drone equipped with wings and 3D printed fins.
The manta ray-like device took three months to construct from scratch, and its military capabilities appear to be extremely promising, according to dailymail.co.uk.
Optional features include camera surveillance, weapon modifications and sensor packages available, according to Royal Navy insiders.
The sum of £100,000 has been provided by the British government for the device’s development, as it was revealed the innovative surveillance gadget will be operable from the seabed or on the shore.
Royal Marines Commandos have been carrying out the training raids on missile and radar installations both at the Electronic Warfare Tactics facility at RAF Spadeadam in Cumbria and at Lulworth Cove in Dorset.
Swarms of drones have recently been operated underwater, on the sea and in the air in an historic first for the UK armed forces.
The trials – named Autonomous Advance Force 4.0 – have the aim of creating a combined human and machine force to create ‘a battlefield advantage’.
A navy spokesman said: ‘In a first for UK Defence, a group of six medium-heavy lift drones were operated in one autonomously controlled swarm from a single ground control station.
‘The drones were tasked with tactically re-supplying commandos with everything from ammunition for the assaulting troops, through to blood for combat medics.’
The navy spokesman added: ‘The ultimate aim is to seamlessly embed autonomous systems on the front line to support commando forces on the battlefield.