The U.S. Navy has awarded a $43.2 million contract to Lockheed Martin for the design of its next autonomous underwater vehicle.
The Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) Orca is a two phase competition, including the currently awarded design phase and a competitive production phase for up to nine vehicles to meet increasing demands for undersea operational awareness and payload delivery.
Lockheed Martin said it will design long-range autonomous vehicle to perform a variety of missions, enabled by a reconfigurable payload bay. Key attributes include extended vehicle range, autonomy and persistence. Orca will have the ability to transit to an area of operation; loiter with the ability to periodically establish communications, deploy payloads and transit home. Navy personnel will launch, recover, operate and communicate with Orca from a home base and are never placed in harm’s way.
“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,” said 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.”
Lockheed Martin employees in Palm Beach, Fla., will perform the work on Orca, with additional support from employees at the company’s locations in Manassas, Va.; Syracuse, N.Y. and Owego, N.Y.