The US Navy contracted with Lockheed Martin to develop the giant unmanned submarine Orca (“Killer Whale”). The contract amount is 43.2 million dollars. By 2020, the first batch of five prototypes should be ready. According to some experts, Orca will be a response to a similar Russian project “Status-6”.
Underwater drones in their meaning are not inferior to flying brothers, performing many important functions. However, the current generation of unmanned underwater vehicles has only limited autonomy.
Orca will differ from them not only by impressive sizes. Designed from modules, it is designed for long-distance autonomous navigation and is multifunctional. Depending on the task, its internal cargo hold can be rebuilt. After commissioning, the Kasatki will carry an autonomous service in pairs in remote areas, periodically communicating with the control center. Upon completion of the mission, they will also return to the base on their own.
The main idea of the project is to reduce the material costs for underwater operations without exposing the seamen to danger. “Orcas” will be engaged in reconnaissance, surveillance, mine protection and serve as a simulator for combat operations.