Navy Adds $46.7 Million to XLUUV Program; 5 Orcas Now Funded
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Senior Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has awarded additional funds to Boeing for the Orca extra-large unmanned underwater vehicle (XLUUV) and has added one Orca to the program, bringing the total funded to five.
The Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Boeing a $46.7 million fixed-priced-incentive contract modification for the Orca program, according to a March 27 Defense Department contract announcement, and adds one more Orca to the four ordered in February.
The earlier Feb. 13 award was for the fabrication, test and delivery of four Orcas and associated support elements.
The March 27 award “completes the XLUUV competition and brings the total awarded amount for five XLUUVs and associated support elements to $274 [million],” the announcement said.
The Orca — named for the similar-size marine mammal — is the largest unmanned underwater vehicle currently planned for the Navy’s operational use. It will not be submarine-launched but autonomously launched from the shore and independently deployed.
The open-architecture, reconfigurable Orca 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,” the Feb. 13 Pentagon announcement said. “The Orca XLUUV will have well-defined interfaces for the potential of implementing cost-effective upgrades in future increments to leverage advances in technology and respond to threat changes.”
The XLUUV will be equipped with a modular payload bay with interfaces for future payloads.
The Boeing design is based on the 51-foot-long Echo Voyager, a large autonomous UUV developed by the company as a capabilities demonstrator.
The Orca program is managed by the Program Executive Office — Unmanned and Small Combatants.