SingaporeBoeing has delivered the first Orca Extra Large Uncrewed Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) to the U.S Navy following acceptance testing completion this month. The XLUUV, designated by the Navy as “Orca,” is a new class of autonomous submarine that can perform long duration critical missions to achieve undersea maritime dominance in changing environments and contested waters.

“This is the culmination of more than a decade of pioneering work, developing a long-range, fully autonomous undersea vehicle with a large payload capacity that can operate completely independently of a host vehicle,” said Ann Stevens, Boeing Maritime and Intelligence Systems vice president. “I’ve had the distinct pleasure of witnessing our team bring this first-of-its-kind capability to life, and I’m proud of their innovation, perseverance and unwavering commitment which has yielded the most advanced and capable UUV in the world. With the Navy’s partnership, we look forward to continuing to deliver this game-changing vehicle to the fleet.”

With the partnership of the Navy, Orca has undergone several phases of at-sea testing, including above and below surface manoeuvres to demonstrate the vehicles’ unique capabilities.

Orca is the result of more than 50 years of Boeing experience building and operating undersea vehicles. In 2012 Boeing initiated the design and development of Echo Voyager, a proof-of-concept XLUUV that began at-sea testing began in 2017 and was a precursor to the US Navy’s Orca XLUUV competition. Echo Voyager – the world’s only vehicle of its size and capability – has spent over 10,000 hours operating at sea and transited hundreds of nautical miles autonomously.


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  1. Every country seems to be working on some type of XLUUV of some sort but is the first to actually be accepted into service. One has to wonder what progress is being made on the R.A.N.s own XLUUV, Ghost Shark, I’ve heard Nothing for some time. One other project I thought interesting was the Turkish 50 meter Submarine but again nothing seems to be appealing in print, is that a good thing or a bad thing.

    • As well as Ghost Shark being built by Anduril (owned by US tech billionaire Palmer Luckey), there’s also Speartooth of roughly similar size being developed by Melbourne-based C2 Robotics. It’s near impossible to find out anything substantial about either activity because, of course, Defence has contractually muzzled both companies about discussing their work. For all anyone knows, both developments might be stunning successes – or they might just as equally be a complete waste of tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds. Email Richard Marles and ask what’s going on – if enough Australians did that we might finally start to get some answers. As for Orca, I’m very surprised that the RAN seems to have shown little interest in it, despite slavishly following the USN in just about everything else.

      • Don’t forget the joint AUS/CAN Seawolf (Cellula Robotics).
        The Brits, Japanese and Koreans also have uuv programs.


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