Highland Systems is adding to its fearsome vehicle lineup in extraordinary style, with an 11-seat armored speed demon it calls the Kronos. Clearly inspired by the manta ray, this hybrid beast rocks folding wings and 1,200 horsepower of propulsion. Founded by Ukrainians, and now based between the UAE and the UK, Highland Systems is an enigma of a company, describing itself as an R&D and project management mob corralling a bunch of engineering specialists from around the defense world.
Kronos is 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. While we’re looking when it comes to prodiction – besure to check our list of the fastest speedboats inthe world.