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A new giant unmanned submarine will be developed for the US Navy, in order to meet increasing demands for undersea operational awareness and payload delivery. Key attributes of the Orca XLUUV include extended vehicle range, autonomy, and persistence. The vehicle will transit to an area of operation; loiter with the ability to periodically establish communications, deploy payloads, and transit home.
The Navy has recently awarded Boeing with a $46,7 million contract modification for the Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) program. This contract modification award completes the XLUUV competition and brings the total awarded amount for five XLUUVs and associated support elements to $274,4 million.
The Department of Defense announced that the Feb. 13, 2019, contract announcement for the XLUUV program occurred while source selection was ongoing, and therefore the specific contract award amount was considered source selection sensitive information and was not made public, according to defence-blog.com.
The new giant unmanned submarine is a fully autonomous extra large unmanned undersea vehicle class UUV that can be used for a variety of missions that were previously impossible due to traditional UUV limitations. The XLUUV will be modular in construction with the core vehicle providing guidance and control, navigation, autonomy, situational awareness, core communications, power distribution, energy and power, propulsion and maneuvering, and mission sensors.
According to insidedefense.com, Boeing and Lockheed Martin have been in a competition to develop the unmanned vehicle. Boeing was previously awarded in February a contract for four of the possible five prototypes the Navy had stated it would procure.