Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded Boeing [BA] a $47 million modification for the Orca Extra large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (XLUUV) program, increasing the total contract to $274 million, and added a fifth vessel.

Previously, in February NAVSEA awarded Boeing a $43 million modification to build four of the 54-inch dimeter vessels that may support missions like mine countermeasures; anti-submarine warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) (Defense Daily, Feb. 14).

The Echo Voyager unmanned undersea vehicle. Photo: Boeing.

The Orca is an accelerated acquisition program and is planned to be launched from a pier. The Navy describes it is a response to a joint operational need.

While the last modification did not disclose the specific total XLUUV contract award amount because it was considered “source-selection sensitive information,” this new award revealed the total program  value while raising the number to five XLUUVs.

“This contract modification award completes the XLUUV competition and brings the total awarded amount for five XLUUVs and associated support elements to $274,400,000,” the announcement said.

After the February announcement, the Navy’s top acquisition official James Geurts said while Boeing “brought the best value to the table” and won the initial vessels, the service is “continuing to look at that, as to see whether that’s the only solution we want to go to or we want to kind of keep looking at it.”

Boeing’s winning design is based on its Echo Voyager UUV. In 2017, Boeing and Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] said they were partnering to support the XLUUV program (Defense Daily, June 8, 2017).

The Navy originally awarded two Phase 1 design contracts in 2017 to Boeing and Lockheed Martin [LMT] Defense Daily, Sept. 29, 2017).

In February, Geurts noted “both competitors have lots of interesting and unique features and I think we’re in a pretty good position where we had choices among some really good designs by some hard-working people.”

The original XLUUV RFP program covered up to five Orcas and includes options for up to four additional vehicles in Phase 2, which includes fabricating systems designed in Phase 1.

While Boeing is the sole winner thus far of the XLUUV contract, last October Capt. Pete Small, program manager of Unmanned Maritime Systems (PMS-406), said the Navy might award Orca to both competitors if they are both technically feasible (Defense Daily, Oct. 17, 2018).

PMS-406 lies within the Program Executive Office (PEO) Unmanned and Small Combatants (USC).

The new modification work will largely occur in Huntington Beach, Calif.; Virginia Beach, Va.; Waukesha, Wis.; and East Aurora, N.Y., and is expected to be finished by December 2022.