Lockheed making large long range robotic submarine drone

Lockheed Martin is designing Orca, the U.S. Navy’s Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV). Orca is being designed to support multiple critical missions.

This long-range autonomous system will have the payload capability to perform a variety of missions, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; mine countermeasures; indication and warning notification; as well as serve as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training platform. These systems can be used for long-endurance surveillance and to deliver other payloads.

The US Navy provided a design phase contract valued at $43.2 million for Orca, the U.S. Navy’s Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV).

This long-range autonomous vehicle will perform a variety of missions, enabled by a reconfigurable payload bay. Key attributes include extended vehicle range, autonomy, and persistence. Orca will transit to an area of operation; loiter with the ability to periodically establish communications, deploy payloads, and transit home. A critical benefit of Orca is that Navy personnel launch, recover, operate, and communicate with the vehicle 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.”

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.

Modular Solution

Lockheed Martin’s solution leverages its expertise in the integration of proven and open architecture solutions, which enable reliable operations, lifecycle benefits and answering the U.S. Navy’s call for affordable, modular solutions that can be reconfigured based on emerging needs. Orca is in support of a Joint Emerging Operational Need, so delivering it on schedule is paramount. With Lockheed Martin’s experienced and industry leading team, we are able to support the Navy’s schedule needs.

Last year, in a testament to the versatility and adaptability that its unmanned systems bring to complex missions, Lockheed Martin successfully launched Vector Hawk, a small, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), on command from the Marlin MK2 autonomous Undersea vehicle (AUV) during a cross-domain command and control event with autonomous systems hosted by the U.S. Navy. In addition to Marlin and Vector Hawk, the Submaran, an autonomous environmentally powered vehicle developed by Ocean Aero, provided surface reconnaissance, surveillance and multi-domain communications.

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