On September 1st, 2008 XXXI, the mighty Molossian Navy launched the "Manta", a remote Underwater Survey Vehicle (USV). The Manta is designed to go beneath the waves and explore, going where man cannot, or won't, to avoid getting wet. The Manta was designed and built entirely by the Molossian Navy, using PVC pipe and motors from two toy submarines. The highlight of the submarine is its underwater camera, capable of taking video and still photographs. The camera is mounted at the front of the Manta, angled slightly downward for a better view of the seafloor. The simple design enables easy repair and upkeep, but very little of this has thus far been necessary.
The Manta's sea trials took place at Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe, some 48 Imperial Nortons (48 km / 30 mi) from Molossia. Lacking an ocean, this is the closest that our Navy could get, a location that is enhanced by its clear waters and easy access. At about 11:00 AM MST, the Manta slid into the waters of Lake Tahoe and began its mission. After a few forays to explore the lake bottom, the Manta was then used to seek and find a dummy torpedo, which it did admirably. Following that mission the Manta was used to film the Molossian flag on the lake floor. This mission was briefly delayed by a loss of battery power in the USV's camera, followed by the loss of a support strut, used to hold the camera in place. Besides these minor setbacks, the Manta performed very well. Some changes will have to made in the future to improve buoyancy and trim, but the overall design will be unaltered. The Manta is an impressive, if simple, machine, and a definite asset to the Molossian Navy.
These sorties complete, the maiden voyage of the Manta USV was declared a success, and our brave Navy retired from the waters, returning to Molossia.