Lockheed Martin to design U.S. Navy's XLUUV Orca



Under a design phase contract valued at $43.2 million, Lockheed Martin will design the U.S. Navy’s Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) known as Orca, in an effort to “support the growth of the U.S. Navy’s family of unmanned undersea systems.”

Including the currently awarded design phase, XLUUV Orca is a two-phase competition, as it also includes a “competitive production phase for up to nine vehicles,” to meet the growing need for undersea operational awareness and payload delivery.

“With each new undersea vehicle that Lockheed Martin designs, we bring to bear the state-of-the-art in technology, and innovative system integration of those technologies, to increase the range, reach, and effectiveness of undersea forces and their missions,” says Frank Drennan, director, submersibles and autonomous systems, business development.

“With decades of experience supporting the U.S. Navy’s mission, our engineers are approaching this design with a sense of urgency and continued agility.”

Thanks to its reconfigurable payload bay, the long-range, autonomous vehicle will be used to conduct a variety of missions. Aside from extended vehicle range and an ability to operate autonomously, persistence will also be a key feature of the vehicle as well.

After traveling to an area of operation, Orca will “loiter with the ability to periodically establish communications,” deploy payloads, and then head back home.

The vehicle will have a home base that it can be launched from by Navy personnel. That base, which will keep personnel out of harm’s way, will also be used to recover, operate, and communicate with the vehicle.