An armored manta-ray-shaped small submarine for commercial and military applications

Kronos sub

A private company, Highland Systems, that was founded in the Ukraine but now is based both in the UK and the UAE, appears to be building an armored manta-ray-shaped small submarine for both commercial and military applications.

It’s designed for a mix of commercial, military and allegedly rescue operations – and from the looks of the stark, largely windowless interior, it certainly doesn’t seem interested in tourism or luxury. A little over 9 m (29.6 ft) long, Kronos will weigh somewhere around 10,000 kg (22,000 lb). Its fat wings will fold upward, allowing you to tow it on a trailer if you wish to cause a series of gawking-related accidents among oncoming traffic.

Plonk it in the water, and it’ll seat 10 passengers plus a driver. The hybrid powertrain marries a diesel generator to a 1,200-horsepower, 2,400-Nm (1,770-lb-ft) electric motor driving a waterjet propulsion system. It can dive to a working depth of 100 m (328 ft), or a max critical depth of 250 m (820 ft), which is pretty decent in the scheme of things. The air supply is good for around 36 hours.

The performance figures are nuts. Highland says it’ll do 80 km/h (50 mph) on top of the water, or 50 km/h (31 mph) underwater; that’s seriously fast through water, just ask Michael Phelps. It carries enough battery on board for a 36-hour all-electric mission, or you can fire up the diesel generator to add a further 18, taking total range up to a very impressive 54 hours of autonomy. There’s adaptive lighting, an automated life support system and air-con – and the schematics show spots for torpedoes as well.

Nor is this entirely a fantasy of the company. It has already built the submarine’s main shell.

As the quote notes, though the company claims this submarine will have civilian uses, the submarine being built now seems entirely military in nature, especially because there is no information at all about the customer paying for its construction. Also, note the torpedoes shown in the schematic above, as well as the packed passengers. Since the company has its roots in the Ukraine, I can just imagine it being used by the Ukraine to transport soldiers to the Crimea on an undercover sabotage mission to destroy Russian assets.