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Boeing officially delivers first Orca XLUUV to US Navy.

| 2023

On December 20, 2023, Boeing officially handed over the first Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) to the U.S. Navy. This significant milestone follows the successful completion of the vehicle's acceptance tests earlier in the month. The Orca represents a new breed of the autonomous submarine, designed to carry out extended missions independently.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Orca is an Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV), that was delivered to the U.S. Navy by Boeing. (Picture source: Boeing)

The first-ever Orca, an Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV), was delivered to the U.S. Navy by Boeing on December 20, 2023. This delivery came after the vehicle passed its acceptance tests at the start of the month.

Developed by Boeing for the U.S. Navy, the Orca XLUUV is a groundbreaking autonomous extra-large unmanned undersea vehicle. It is engineered to operate autonomously, capable of navigating and conducting critical missions independently for extended periods without the need for crew or support ships.

The Orca XLUUV's design is based on Boeing's Echo Voyager, a fully autonomous XLUUV introduced in March 2016. The Orca measures 26 meters in total length, including its payload section, has a width of 2.6 meters, and weighs 50 tons in the air. Its modular design allows for easy reconfiguration and integration of various technologies, catering to the evolving threats and needs of the Navy.

The vehicle is equipped with a hybrid rechargeable power system and a modular payload bay. Its open and modular design enables future upgrades to incorporate the latest technologies and meet constantly evolving threats.

Ann Stevens, Vice President of Maritime and Intelligence Systems at Boeing, expressed her pride in this achievement: "This delivery represents more than a decade of innovative efforts in developing a long-range autonomous undersea vehicle capable of operating independently from any host ship. Our team's commitment, innovation, and unwavering perseverance have led to the creation of the most advanced and capable Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) in the world. We are excited about our ongoing partnership with the navy and the continued delivery of this revolutionary vehicle to the fleet."

The Orca XLUUV symbolizes Boeing's over 50 years of experience in designing and operating undersea vehicles. Its development journey began with the Echo Voyager in 2012, a conceptual XLUUV that commenced sea trials in 2017. As a precursor to the U.S. Navy's Orca XLUUV competition, the Echo Voyager set a precedent with over 10,000 hours of sea operation and hundreds of nautical miles of autonomous transit.

Throughout its development, the Orca XLUUV underwent a series of rigorous at-sea tests, including complex maneuvers above and below the surface, demonstrating its capabilities. The partnership between Boeing and the U.S. Navy has been pivotal in realizing this new autonomous technology.

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