Lockheed designing Navy’s largest unmanned underwater drone

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Oct. 30 (UPI) — Lockheed Martin has received a design-phase contract from the U.S. Navy’s for its largest unmanned undersea vehicle, the Orca.

The Orca, known as the Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle, or XLUUV, is a multi-mission autonomous vehicle with a reconfigurable payload bay. It will be capable of transiting to an area of operation, loiter, periodically establish communications, deploy payloads and then transit home.

The contract is worth a total of $432 million.

The Orca project has been broken into two phases — the awarded design phase, and a competitive production phase for up to nine vehicles.

“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,” Frank Drennan, Lockheed’s director for business development of submersibles and autonomous systems, said in a press release.

“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.”

Additional design-phase contract details were not disclosed.

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