US Navy christens Orca XL Unmanned Undersea Vehicle

According to information published by the U.S. DoD on May 6, 2022, the US Navy marked an important milestone in its effort to develop reliable undersea capability with the christening and first in-water test of the Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) Test Asset System in Huntington Beach, California.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Orca XL Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (Picture source: Boeing)

The test asset system is critical in the performance and production of the five operationally relevant prototype Orca XLUUVs.

Orca XLUUV is being designed to support multiple critical missions. This long-range autonomous vehicle will perform a variety of missions. Lockheed Martin’s XLUUV leverages its expertise in the integration of proven, and open, architecture solutions.

The modularity of the vehicle enables reliable operations, lifecycle benefits and answers the U.S. Navy’s call for an affordable solution that can be reconfigured based on emerging needs.

The basic Orca design shares a 51 feet (16 m) length with Echo Voyager, but the Orca will incorporate a more modular construction, primarily for the capability to be built with an additional payload module of up to 34 feet (10 m) long and a capacity of 8 tonnes (8,000 kg) for a total length of 85 feet (26 m).

The maximum speed is 8 knots (15 km/h), though the typical service speed is about 3 knots (5.6 km/h), which gives the Orca a range of up to 6,500 miles (10,500 km) with an endurance of several months.