Future Trends

Boeing’s First Extra Large Uncrewed Submarine Joins US Navy Fleet

Game-changing sub

Boeing’s First Extra Large Uncrewed Submarine Joins US Navy Fleet

Boeing announced Wednesday the delivery of the first Extra Large Uncrewed Undersea Vehicle to the U.S. Navy after completing acceptance testing that ran from April to December.

According to the company, the XLUUV named Orca by the military branch can be sent to critical missions for long periods to provide undersea maritime superiority amid changing environments of contested waters. The submarine’s at-sea testing, which was performed in partnership with the Navy, went through several phases, including maneuvers above and below surface waters, Boeing said.

The company won the Orca development contract in February 2019, which GovTech reported was originally valued at $43 million and later grew to $432.5 million for the production of five Orcas. Boeing used HII’s Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence in Hampton, Virginia, to assemble the Orca’s hull structures.

Ann Stevens, Boeing maritime and intelligence systems vice president, noted that Orca is a product of over 10 years’ effort to develop a long-range, fully autonomous submarine. The company looks forward to its partnership with the Navy to continue delivering the “game-changing vehicle to the fleet,” she added.

Before Orca, Boeing designed and developed Echo Voyager, an XLUUV proof of concept that underwent sea testing starting in 2017.

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