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Navy orders unmanned sub Orca/Echo Voyager derivatives

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posted on Feb, 14 2019 @ 06:18 PM
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The U.S. Navy has awarded a contract to Boeing for four Extra-Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (XLUUVs). In other words: giant drone subs.

The unmanned submarines, called Orcas, will be able to undertake missions from scouting to sinking ships at very long ranges. Drone ships like the Orca will revolutionize war at sea, providing inexpensive, semi-disposable weapon systems that can fill the gaps in the front line—or simply go where it’s too dangerous for manned ships to go.

The contract, announced today, stipulates Boeing will get $43 million for “fabrication, test, and delivery of four Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (XLUUVs) and associated support elements.” That’s just over ten million bucks per boat.



Pretty well written Popular Mechanics article detailing possible uses. This is more of a proof of concept demonstration program than an actual "weapon" at the moment, but along with ACTUV show the Navy is taking a serious look at "distributed lethality".





USNI article




Boeing based its winning Orca XLUUV design on its Echo Voyager unmanned diesel-electric submersible. The 51-foot-long submersible is launched from a pier and can operate autonomously while sailing up to 6,500 nautical miles without being connected to a manned mother ship, according to the Navy. Eventually, the Navy could also use the Orca XLUUV for mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, electronic warfare and strike missions, according to a Navy outline of the system’s capability development.

...

Meanwhile, the Navy is also exploring the possible use of Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (LDUUVs) as another rapid acquisition program. The LDUUV would be a vehicle launched from either a Virginia-class fast attack submarine or from a surface ship. LDUUVs could perform similar missions as the XLUUV, however, the LDUUV would need to remain relatively close to the mother ship instead of operating autonomously like the XLUUV.




And a USNI article on distributed lethality for tangential context.


What is needed is will—the fortitude to recognize that we have to change the way we currently operate. We must display the courage necessary to move forward, to question established concepts and methods, to take risks, and to learn from our mistakes. We will have to experiment with and refine emerging concepts, and we will have to become more comfortable with autonomous operations across vast distances. The risks are worth it, however. A more widely postured and more uniformly lethal surface force will play a significant role in maintaining the United States’ position as the dominant naval power, something from which the world has benefited handsomely for more than seven decades.




posted on Feb, 14 2019 @ 06:30 PM
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Star and flag from me although im willing to bet that this type of thing has been around for quite some time.



posted on Feb, 14 2019 @ 06:49 PM
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Should have said they ordered 100 not like anybody's going to see them.




posted on Feb, 14 2019 @ 06:50 PM
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a reply to: mikell

Good point



posted on Feb, 14 2019 @ 06:56 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Just what the world needs, smart torpedoes to roam the seas.

How easy is it going to be to put a small yield nuke in one of those?

Let's just hope they don't get hacked and a few oil tankers, oil rig or port taken out.

Remarkable really the interesting ways we come up with to kill one another.

Leonardo would be really impressed with where we have taken his sketches of the Submarine.
edit on 14-2-2019 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 14 2019 @ 07:04 PM
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a reply to: andy06shake

It's more of a distributed autonomous sensor, although ultimately we'll see weapons carrying ability, I'm sure.



posted on Feb, 14 2019 @ 07:09 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

Yes, I'm sure they will be used for autonomous sensor purpose, exploration and information gathering missions.

But arming them is a logical step, if not already in the pipeline.



posted on Feb, 14 2019 @ 09:48 PM
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a reply to: andy06shake

They've already mentioned Mk46 and Mk48 torpedoes.



posted on Feb, 16 2019 @ 10:44 AM
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Is there such a thing as underwater EMP?



posted on Feb, 16 2019 @ 10:50 AM
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a reply to: one4all

Still wouldn't work. Military equipment is hardened against extremely high levels of interference.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 01:07 PM
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a reply to: andy06shake


How easy is it going to be to put a small yield nuke in one of those?


Let me introduce you to Poseidon, my little Russian friend.

en.wikipedia.org...

The Poseidon is designed to carry a nuke.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 01:11 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

The USNI article states they plan on weapons. There is supposed to be a modular payload pod on the Orca and at some point one will be with weapons. They may have already started working on the pod now, but it will take longer than the sensors no matter what.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 01:18 PM
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Additionally, some of the deployable payloads will most likely be smaller submersibles like the General Dynamics Bluefin technology for long range sensors and "other" small craft.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 06:43 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Don't hold out hope for a 100 megaton yield, more like 2 megatons.

Still enough to destroy any viable target or coastal city.

And it can go deeper than current subs.

Scary bastard, but nukes are silly weapons designed to fight a MAD scenario.

"They" are just not silly enough to unleash a full-scale nuclear conflict as there is simply no profit nor spoils of war to be had.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 07:23 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Right, I quoted from the USNI link. But a loadout with one or two torpedoes isn't really the purpose of this thing. I'm sure they'd love to get masses of bigger unmanned submersibles, say with an SSN or even arsenal type load out that just sits on the bottom until it is needed and then scoots. But in the meantime, it's all babysteps and trying to figure out how to network all the information and control/command in a way that is useful and doesn't compromise either the distributed sensor platforms or the manned platforms. In many ways, an arsenal ship as above would be easier and less challenging. It just sits passively until it receives a ELF message/command. This (Orca), meanwhile, is trying to increase autonomy AND be able to ahre information and commands enabling a wide-variety of uses. This is a stepping stone towards a Frigate/DD/SSN with a "loyal wingman" (or multiple). Imagine a SUBRON with a single attack sub commanding a distributed network of sensors on autonomous/semi-autonomous platforms covering thousands of miles. Even if they weren't armed operating as a mobile SOSUS network, it'd be a massively important asset for ASW and ASuW situational awareness. Important assets in your CVNG can leave/avoid the area while ASW assets can be directed right on target seemingly out of nowhere, etc. Similar to how tactics are being developed for the F-35 as a mini-Air Battle Management hub, to take advantage of the increased situational awareness offered.
edit on 17-2-2019 by RadioRobert because: (no reason given)



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