Boeing Defense unveils a unique video featuring ORCA XLUUV

According to a tweet published by Boeing on July 18, 2023, Russian Navy ships will be equipped with additional anti-drone capabilities, according to a modernization plan approved by Russia's Ministry of Defense.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicles tested with dolphins. (Picture source: Boeing)

The origins of Orca trace back to 2017, as part of a competitive bid by industry giants like Lockheed Martin. Their objective: create a colossal, autonomous submersible capable of months-long missions.

Fast-forward to 2019, the Boeing/HII alliance secured a $43 million deal to construct four such underwater leviathans, with designs inspired by Boeing's pioneering AUV, Echo Voyager.

Soon after, a fifth unit was commissioned, ballooning the total contract value to $274.4 million. Delivery of these underwater titans was slated for late 2022.

Mirroring its predecessor, Echo Voyager, in length, Orca is set to revolutionize underwater technology with its modular design. It promises the potential for a custom payload module that can stretch up to 34 feet, capable of carrying an 8-ton load, extending the total length to a whopping 85 feet.

This modular construction allows the vessel to be tailored according to its mission needs, including surveillance, submerged operations, surface missions, electronic warfare, and minesweeping.

The Orca's propulsion system will be a combination of diesel and lithium-ion batteries, which offer the convenience of battery-powered operation while submerged and diesel-powered recharging on the surface.

The vessel's top speed is expected to be around 8 knots, while its typical cruising speed would be around 3 knots. Such efficiencies would enable the Orca to traverse up to 6,500 miles non-stop for several months.