- Navy hopes to use up to nine of the giant submarines on secret mission
- Exact dimensions of giant craft are still secret
- Will have ‘quickswap’ payloads that can easily be changed
It could be the biggest robot craft ever made.
Lockheed Martin has won a lucrative $43.2 million US Navy contract to built a radical new giant submarine – without a human on board.
Called Orca, the Navy hopes to use up to nine of the giant submarines on secret mission.
They will be able to stay underwater for months at a time, communicating remotely from enemy waters.
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Called Orca, the Navy hopes to use up to nine of the giant submarines on secret mission. They will be able to stay underwater for months at a time, communicating remotely from enemy waters.
Officially known as the US Navy’s Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV),
Lockheed say the ‘long-range autonomous vehicle will perform a variety of missions, enabled by a reconfigurable payload bay.’
It says key attributes include extended vehicle range, autonomy, and persistence.
Orca will be able to move to an area of operation and ‘loiter’, periodically establishing communications and deploying payloads before returning to its home port.
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, Lockheed Martin says.
‘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.’