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Boeing Delivers Orca XLUUV: A Game-Changing Unmanned Undersea Weapon for the US Navy

The U.S. Navy has officially received the first Orca Extra Large Uncrewed Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) from Boeing. This autonomous submarine, weighing 80 tons, is part of a new class designed for extended, critical missions, aiming to enhance undersea maritime dominance in diverse and challenging environments.

Cutting-Edge Capabilities and Future Applications

Boeing’s Orca XLUUV completed its testing stages earlier this month, marking a significant milestone in its development. The Navy plans to deploy these unmanned submarines for various purposes, including electronic warfare, minesweeping, and underwater surveillance. The XLUUVs could potentially be armed with cruise missiles, torpedoes, and aerial drones, providing the Navy with a versatile and sophisticated tool for strategic operations.

A Decade of Innovation Culminates in Unprecedented Autonomy

Boeing’s Vice President of Maritime and Intelligence Systems, Ann Stevens, highlighted the groundbreaking work that led to the development of the Orca XLUUV. Over ten years of innovation and dedication have resulted in a fully autonomous underwater vehicle with substantial payload capacity, capable of operating independently for extended periods. The Orca represents a revolutionary advancement in unmanned undersea technology, showcasing Boeing’s commitment to providing cutting-edge capabilities to the U.S. Navy.

Overcoming Challenges and Looking Ahead

The journey from concept to delivery was not without its challenges. Boeing faced setbacks and encountered difficulties during the development of the Orca. The U.S. Government Accountability Office reported significant delays in the program, extending the delivery schedule by a minimum of three years and exceeding the initial budget estimate by over $240 million. Despite these challenges, Boeing remains committed to advancing undersea capabilities, with the Orca poised to play a crucial role in the Navy’s strategic initiatives.

As the U.S. Navy welcomes the Orca XLUUV into its fleet, the autonomous submarine represents a remarkable achievement in autonomous undersea technology. Its multifaceted capabilities and potential applications underscore the evolving landscape of naval operations, where unmanned systems are becoming increasingly integral to maintaining maritime dominance.

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