US Navy contracts Boeing to build four Orca XLUUVs

The US Navy has awarded Boeing a $43 million contract for the fabrication, test, and delivery of four Orca extra large unmanned undersea vehicles (XLUUVs) and associated support elements.

Boeing photo of the company's Echo Voyager UUV

Boeing’s proposal for the Orca XLUUV was based on its 15-meter Echo Voyager unmanned undersea vehicle.

The other contender in the navy program was Lockheed Martin. In 2017, both companies received contracts worth over $40 million dollars for the design phase.

The 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.

It 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 Orca XLUUV will have a modular payload bay, with defined interfaces to deploy current and future payloads.

Boeing is expected to complete work on the contract by June 2022. The company will work with Huntington Ingalls Industries to deliver the UUVs, according to an announcement from June 2017.