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The U.S. Navy Receives the First Orca XLUUV in its Fleet

The U.S. Navy Receives the First Orca XLUUV in its Fleet

The autonomous unmanned submarine Orca, Extra Large Uncrewed Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV), was formally delivered to the U.S. Navy. The XLUUV, a Boeing creation, is designed for long ocean surveillance missions, with a range of over 10,000 kilometres. The vessel moves at low speed, around three knots, with a lithium battery, while on the surface, it can charge with a diesel engine. A fully autonomous subsea vehicle can function without the assistance of a host vessel.

Boeing ORCA XLUUV ceremony TurDef.jpg

Its role is, in addition to surveillance and electronic warfare, mine detection and minelaying, and activities such as providing targeting information to other vessels. The submarine has the possibility of satellite communication with a particular "split" mast that is raised on the surface, but it also has a significant degree of autonomy in its movement. In total, it can carry a payload of eight tons (with an extra storage space extension for a total length of 26 meters), while in a future version, it may also carry torpedoes.

The original 2019 contract called for the construction of five vessels, but there were several delays and cost overruns until we reached the first delivery.