Boeing has delivered the first Orca Extra Large Uncrewed Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) to the US Navy following acceptance testing completion in December.
The XLUUV, named Orca by the Navy is, according to Boeing, a new class of autonomous submarine that can perform long duration critical missions to achieve undersea maritime dominance in changing environments and contested waters.
“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,” Ann Stevens, Boeing Maritime and Intelligence Systems Vice President said.
“I’ve had the distinct pleasure of witnessing our team bring this first-of-its-kind capability to life, and I’m proud of their innovation, perseverance and unwavering commitment which has yielded the most advanced and capable UUV in the world. With the Navy’s partnership, we look forward to continuing to deliver this game-changing vehicle to the fleet.”
With the partnership of the Navy, Orca has undergone several phases of at-sea testing, including above and below surface manoeuvres to demonstrate the vehicles’ unique capabilities.
In 2012 Boeing initiated the design and development of Echo Voyager, a proof-of-concept XLUUV that began at-sea testing in 2017 and was a precursor to the US Navy’s Orca XLUUV competition. Echo Voyager has spent over 10,000 hours operating at sea and transited hundreds of nautical miles autonomously.