- The Washington Times - Monday, June 3, 2019

The high seas will soon be a more dangerous place for America’s enemies with the introduction of the U.S. Navy’s 50-ton “Orca” attack drone.

A $43 million deal with Boeing is proceeding according to plan — the defense giant has started building four ‘Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle’ called XLUUV Orca.

Capt. Pete Small, program manager for Unmanned Systems, Naval Sea Systems Command, recently spoke about the project at the Navy League’s Sea Air Space Symposium, Warrior Maven reported May 31.

“Extra Large UUVs, such as Boeing’s Orca, are certainly large enough to accommodate weapons payloads, and it seems such an option is entirely feasible, depending upon the pace of undersea connectivity and fire control,” Kris Osborn, a senior fellow at The Lexington Institute, wrote for the website.

Mr. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army — Acquisition, Logistics & Technology.

One of the Navy’s long-term goals, Capt. Small said, is to possess drones with “upgradeable” engineering, meaning a “multi-mission drone able to quickly integrate new technology and payloads as they emerge,” Warrior Maven reported. 

“Small’s conceptual vision, which is now being refined and explored throughout the Navy leadership, is to enable forward operating attack, [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] and undersea networking with other manned and unmanned assets,” Mr. Osborn added.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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