March 21, 2023 · 🇺🇸 Dispatch Combat UUV

Estimating XLUUV Lethality


On Sunday, March 19, 60 Minutes (CBS) aired a segment focusing on the state of the United States Navy (USN), exploring whether the USN is "in crisis," and highlighting the current rate of shipbuilding versus that of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

In the context of justifying the program's cost overruns and scheduling delays, Adm. Gilday indicated that once the Orca reaches "ICO" - initial operating capability - it will be "among the most lethal and stealthy platforms-- in the arsenal of the U.S. military."


An early USN illustration (above) of the Orca pictured the vehicle's payload bay containing twelve angled tubes, suggesting a minelaying system, or possibly torpedo tubes. A torpedo tube module would enable the platform to engage in a wide range of kinetic operations, including:

The lethality of the Orca XLUUV will depend its weapons loadout, which will in turn be influenced by a range of factors, including the integration of modular payload systems that can accommodate different weapons systems, as well as the degree of human-machine teaming versus autonomy involved in vehicle operations.


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