Lockheed Martin receives $12.3 million to develop underwater drone

Feb. 21 (UPI) — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded Lockheed Martin with a $12.3 million contract for phase one of the the Manta Ray program.

The contract funds research, development and demonstration of an extra-large underwater drone.

According to DARPA, the purpose of the Manta Ray program is to create a new class of long duration, long range, payload-capable undersea drones — underwater vessels that could operate without the need for logistic support or maintenance from human staff.

More than half — 52 percent — of work on the contract will take place in West Palm Beach, Fla., with other work taking place in Cherry Hill, N.J., and a variety of locations in the U.S.

This contract has an estimated completion date of January 2021.

Research and development funds in the amount of $1.15 million are obligated at the time of the award.

This contract was awarded through a competitive bidding process after bids were solicited in June 2019.

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