China Unveils Advanced Underwater Drone UUV300CB, Rivaling US Manta Ray

China showcases its advanced underwater drone, UUV300CB, at a defence exhibition in Malaysia, boasting capabilities to carry sea mines and torpedoes. The US is also developing its own underwater drone, Manta Ray, with similar capabilities, intensifying competition in this emerging field.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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China Unveils Advanced Underwater Drone UUV300CB, Rivaling US Manta Ray

China Unveils Advanced Underwater Drone UUV300CB, Rivaling US Manta Ray

China has showcased its advanced underwater drone, the UUV300CB, at the Defence Services Asia exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, earlier this month. The drone is part of the UUV-300 series of extra-large uncrewed underwater vehicles (XLUUVs) designed to be armed and exported.

Why this matters: The development of advanced underwater drones like the UUV300CB and Manta Ray has significant implications for naval warfare and maritime security, as they can potentially disrupt the balance of power in the world's oceans. As both China and the United States continue to develop and test their respective XLUUVs, the competition in this emerging field is likely to have far-reaching consequences for global security.

The UUV300CB boasts impressive capabilities, with a length of 11.5-meters (38-feet) and a weight of 50 tonnes. It has a quoted range of 450 nautical miles (834 km) and is capable of carrying sea mines and smaller UUVs, as well as firing lightweight torpedoes. Experts suggest it may also have the potential to carry and launch missiles.

China's unveiling of the UUV300CB comes as the United States is also developing its own underwater drone, competition, armed, the Manta Ray, built by Northrop Grumman in collaboration with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Manta Ray prototype has completed its first sea test and has demonstrated its ability to be transported by standard shipping containers and rapidly deployed.

H. I. Sutton, a submarine and sub-surface systems expert, notes that China is leading the world in this emerging technology, with Beijing aggressively pursuing at least five distinct XLUUV designs. "Based on drones in the water, and efforts at defense shows, China is leading the world in this emerging technology," Sutton states.

The development of advanced underwater drones like the UUV300CB and Manta Ray highlights the growing drone, competition, armed between China and the United States in the realm of unmanned underwater vehicles. As Dr. Kyle Woerner, DARPA program manager for Manta Ray, notes, "Our successful, full-scale Manta Ray testing validates the vehicle's readiness to advance toward real-world operations after being rapidly assembled in the field from modular subsections."

The UUV300CB's capabilities, including its potential to carry sea mines, torpedoes, and possibly missiles, underscore China's advancements in underwater drone technology. As both China and the United States continue to develop and test their respective XLUUVs, the competition in this emerging field is set to intensify, with potential implications for naval warfare and maritime security.

Key Takeaways

  • China showcases UUV300CB, an advanced underwater drone, at Defence Services Asia exhibition.
  • UUV300CB has a range of 450 nautical miles, can carry sea mines and torpedoes, and possibly missiles.
  • US is developing its own underwater drone, Manta Ray, with similar capabilities.
  • China leads the world in XLUUV technology, pursuing at least five distinct designs.
  • Competition in underwater drones will impact naval warfare and maritime security.