The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has tapped Boeing to integrate a payload delivery system on the US Navy’s first-ever Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV).
The $8.51 million contract modification is part of the second phase of the Hunter program to develop an innovative concept for the delivery of advanced undersea payloads.
Northrop Grumman is in charge of developing the system, while Boeing will be responsible for its integration into the extra-large underwater vehicle.
The payload delivery system is a crucial component of the Orca XLUUV because it allows the integration of advanced surveillance sensors, weapons, and drones.
Work for the contract will be performed in California and is expected to be finished by March 2023.
The Orca XLUUV
Boeing was awarded a $43 million contract in 2019 to produce the Orca XLUUV, which is capable of undertaking long-endurance missions.
The drone submarine is reportedly designed to meet the growing demand for undersea operational awareness and payload delivery.
The Orca provides enhanced guidance and control, navigation, autonomy, situational awareness, and core communications with a modular design.
It has a recorded top speed of eight knots (14.8 kilometers/9.2 miles per hour) and a maximum range of 6,500 nautical miles (12,038 kilometers).
In addition to payload delivery, the Orca XLUUV can be used for mine countermeasures, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare missions.