Boeing delivers first Orca UUV to US Navy
Boeing has delivered the first Orca Extra Large Uncrewed Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) to the US Navy (USN) following completion of testing earlier this month.
Orca has been described by its manufacturer as a new class of autonomous submarine that can perform long duration critical missions and support naval forces.
Boeing began work on Orca when it started development of Echo Voyager as a proof-of-concept XLUUV and testing of the system began in 2017. Boeing has been building five Orcas for the USN in partnership with Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Echo Voyager, described by Boeing as ‘the world’s only vehicle of its size and capability’, has spent more than 10,000 hours operating at sea, during which time it has transited hundreds of nautical miles autonomously.
Boeing Maritime and Intelligence Systems vice-president Ann Stevens said: ‘This is the culmination of more than a decade of pioneering work, developing a long-range, fully autonomous undersea vehicle with a large payload capacity that can operate completely independently of a host vehicle.’
In August 2023 Boeing announced it had completed the integration of a 10.4m payload section of its Orca built under a DARPA contract and was preparing to go back out to sea for further trials with the payload section. The integrated version is approximately 26m long and weighs more than 73,000kg.
In July 2022, Boeing received an US$8.51 million contract modification from DARPA for Option 3 of the Hunter Phase 2 programme taking the total cumulative face value of the contract to $36.8 million.
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