A UAE-based startup has unveiled a new submarine design that resembles a futuristic spacecraft rather than an underwater vessel. The startup HIghland Systems has radically altered the appearance of submarines from the outside as well as the inside with its Kronos submarine.
Submarines, which are designed for covert operations, have advanced dramatically over the years. However, their basic design & shape remain fairly standard. With the rise of newer technologies such as electric engines and unmanned vehicles taking prominence, there is an opportunity to redesign submarines to be more fuel efficient & increase their stealth capabilities.
We reported last year that DARPA’s Manta-Ray project had progressed to the next stage, and now a UAE-based startup has unveiled another Manta-ray-inspired design. Although it is not an unmanned vehicle, the shape of the submarine is striking.
The Manta ray-inspired submarine
The submarine is intended to carry ten passengers and one crew member. According to the company, the radically new hull design can achieve higher speeds while using less fuel. The submarine can be used for commercial purposes or designed specifically for rescue or combat missions.
The submarine is dual-powered, with a diesel generator and an electric engine that, when combined, can run for up to 54 hours. Surprisingly, the submarine’s wings can be folded to facilitate transport over land. If this sounds confusing, you’ll be surprised to learn that the submarine is just under 30 feet (9025 mm) long, 24 feet (7432 mm) wide, and 6.85 feet (2089 mm) tall, none of which are comparable to the largest submarines we’ve previously covered.
According to the website, it weighs only 22,000 pounds (10,000 kg) and has a carrying capacity of 6,600 pounds (3,000 kg) on water.
The submarine’s performance
The submarine, which is powered by a diesel engine, has a top speed of just under 50 miles (80 kilometres) per hour on water and 31 miles (50 kilometres) per hour under water. The submarine’s working depth is 328 feet (100 metres), and its maximum critical depth is 820 feet (250 m).
The submarine’s 1,200 hp electric engine can also be used to propel it. The submarine can operate on batteries alone for 36 hours, which is the same amount of time it can maintain air supply. Following that, the battery must be charged for 1.5 hours, which is also the time required for air refuelling.
The submarine’s interiors are air-conditioned and have an adaptive lighting system. When necessary, the life support system can be activated automatically. The images on the website show that the interiors are comfortable for passengers.
The submarine can also be outfitted with six mini-torpedoes for combat operations, three on each side of the crew member. If necessary, these torpedoes could destroy enemy ships or port bases.
From the standpoint of a prototype, The Kronos checks all the boxes. We must now see it in action to determine whether it fulfils its promise.