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US Navy Designates Future Orca Unmanned Sub Support Facility

The US Navy has designated Naval Undersea Warfare Division Keyport as its In-Service Engineering Agent (ISEA) for the Orca class of extra-large unmanned undersea vehicles (XLUUV).

A statement by Keyport has revealed that the facility will provide life-cycle sustainment for the Orca and the Razorback dry deck shelter launch and recovery UUV.

The Orca

The Orca is a long-range autonomous XLUUV being developed by Boeing. The company is currently manufacturing five Orca XLUUVs under a $274.4 million contract awarded in 2019 when Boeing beat Lockheed Martin’s bid during the design phase. 

The company’s successful design bid was based on its Echo Voyager unmanned diesel-electric submersible.

Military Aerospace described the sub’s design, citing navy officials who said that the Orca will be an “open-architecture reconfigurable UUV 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.”

Possible Roles

The XLUUV will be 51-feet (15.6 meters) in length and capable of continuous operation for 6,500 nautical miles (12,038 kilometers or 7,480 miles) alone, USNI News revealed, citing the navy.

The outlet added that the navy plans to deploy the unmanned vehicle for mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare, and strike missions.

According to Naval Technology, the underwater vessels are expected to be in service by June of next year.

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