Highland Systems is adding to its fearsome lineup of vehicles in extreme style, with an 11-seat armored speed demon it calls the Kronos. Apparently inspired by the manta ray, this hybrid beast rocks folding wings and a 1,200 horsepower drivetrain.

Founded by Ukrainians and now based between the UAE and the UK, Highland Systems is an enigma for a company that describes itself as an R&D and project management crowd, bringing together a bunch of engineering professionals from across the defense world. The last time we ran into these guys was to check out their hybrid amphibious MPV Storm, which just looked like a bunch of wild renders. But the team brought a prototype to IREX Abu Dhabi in the flesh and is an absolute monster.

The rest of the company’s portfolio is no less scandalous. The lush science fiction of Phantom MPV. Rally-tastic Buggy Hunter MK-200. Ridiculous and extremely effective luxury superyacht Trimaran – which is either a frighteningly good set of visuals or actually built. The company brochure goes further, detailing heavy, supersonic stealth drones, a range of other small and medium-sized UAVs, unmanned ground robots for hazardous missions, and a program to electrify battle tanks and heavy armored vehicles with hybrid-electric propulsion.

Kronos claims a maximum critical depth of 250m and a “working depth” of 100m

Highland Systems

So while the Kronos Armored Submarine looks at first glance like complete reworked madness, the exotic dream of some overexcited design student, this thing also looks legit.

It was designed for a mix of commercial, military and supposed rescue operations – and from the looks of the austere, largely windowless interior, it certainly doesn’t seem interested in tourism or luxury. Just over 9 m (29.6 ft) long, Kronos will weigh somewhere around 10,000 kg (22,000 lb). Its thick fenders will fold up, allowing you to tow it on a trailer if you want to cause a series of oncoming traffic stare-down incidents.

Pop it in the water and it will hold 10 passengers plus driver. The hybrid drive combines a diesel generator with an electric motor producing 1,200 horsepower and 2,400 Nm (1,770 lb-ft) of torque, driving a water jet propulsion system. It can dive to a working depth of 100m (328ft) or a maximum critical depth of 250m (820ft), which is pretty decent in the scheme of things. The air supply is good for about 36 hours.

The only sub that Darth Vader would drive
The only sub that Darth Vader would drive

Highland Systems

The performance data is crazy. Highland says it will do 80 km/h (50 mph) above water or 50 km/h (31 mph) underwater; it’s seriously fast in 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 another 18, bringing the total range up to a very impressive 54 hours of autonomy. It has adaptive lighting, an automated life support system and air conditioning – and the schematics also show locations for torpedoes.

It may seem like pure science fiction, but Defense blogI have a photo of the main shell under construction in the UAE so everything seems to be going well. We have no idea who they’re making these crazy machines for, and we can only assume they’ll appear in the middle of dormant volcanoes, guarded by sharks with fucking laser beams attached to their heads… Or at least sick-tempered sea bass.

source: Highland Systems