The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) awarded Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Boeing [BA] Phase I contracts for design efforts of the Orca Extra Large Unmanned Vehicle (XLUUV), the Defense Department said in a contract announcement.

The XLUUV may support several missions including mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The vessel is categorized as over 54 inches in diameter and will have a long range and endurance.

The Echo Voyager unmanned undersea vehicle. Photo: Boeing.
The Echo Voyager unmanned undersea vehicle. Photo: Boeing.

These awards represent Phase I of the competitive two-phase acquisition approach. The contract includes prices Phase II options, but those are considered source selection information that will not be disclosed. Therefore, the Navy would not disclose the total value of the contract if all options are exercised in both phases combined.

Lockheed Martin was awarded over $43 million with work set to occur primarily in Riviera beach, Fla., while Boeing won over $42 million to work largely in Huntington Beach, Calif., DoD said last Thursday. All of the Phase I contracted work is set to be finished by Dec. 2018.

In fiscal year  2018 budget documents, the Navy said it plans to leverage existing Commercial Off The Shelf platforms to develop the system. The Navy budgeted $61.5 million toward prototyping and testing of the vessel in its FY 2018 budget request plus additional funds to research remote command and control, explosive payloads, and other payloads.

The Navy originally posted a request for proposals for the XLUUV in March. The contract plan is to use a two-phase acquisition approach where up to two industry teams win phase one, then the navy will down-select to a single winner in phase two to build the first five XLUUVs.

In June, Boeing and Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] announced they were partnering to support the XLUUV program. Boeing also said its bid for the XLUUV was strongly influenced by its newest and largest UUV, the Echo Voyager (Defense Daily, June 8).

The Echo Voyager is 51 feet long, can include a modular payload bay of up to 34 feet, is fully autonomous, and can operate at sea for months before returning to port, the company has said.

Earlier this month Lockheed Martin became the second significant investor in unmanned maritime vehicle developer Ocean Aero. The company is known for developing the Submaran UUV for ocean observation and data collection (Defense Daily, Sept. 15).

Lockheed Martin’s current UUV offerings include the 10-foot long Marlin autonomous underwater vehicle, which can dive up to 1,000 feet below the surface, sprint up to four knots, and cruise for up to 18 hours.