ARLINGTON, Va. – Undersea warfare experts at Northrop Grumman Corp. are moving forward with a project to build and test an advanced undersea payload delivery system for future extra-large unmanned underwater vehicles (XLUUVs) under terms of a $3.4 million order announced Friday.
Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., are asking the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems segment in Annapolis, Md., to support the second phase of the Hunter program to develop a payload-delivery system for a large unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV). The Hunter program involves only the payload delivery system and not the extra-large UUV itself.
DARPA Hunter for unmanned submarines payloads is a 45-month program in three phases: the first to design and build the payload delivery device to fit inside a government-provided payload module; and the second and third phases to support integration of the payload delivery device into the big UUV for testing. Technical details of the Hunter program are classified.
Northrop Grumman won a $9.9 million DARPA Hunter phase-two order in June 2019. Two years before that, the company won a $5.8 million Hunter phase-one contract.
This is a competitively awarded contract to support phase-two of the DARPA Hunter program to support integration of the payload delivery device into the XLUUV and perform testing. Northrop Grumman is integrating the XLUUV payload delivery system for persistent-surveillance sensors, weapons, other UUVs, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The Boeing Co. Defense, Space & Security segment in Huntington Beach, Calif., won a $43 million order in February 2019 from U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington to build four Orca XLUUVs that could undertake long-endurance missions to deploy sensors or other UUVs.
Extra-large UUVs and their weapons and sensors typically are autonomous mini-submarines that measure about seven feet in diameter -- sometimes larger. They are designed for launch from shore, from large military ships with well decks, or from large civil vessels with moon pools.
Now Northrop Grumman will continue integrating Hunter payload-delivery systems for large unmanned submarines like the Boeing Orca.
One of the U.S. military research projects that have led to the Boeing Orca XLUUV and the Northrop Grumman Hunter XLUUV payload-delivery system has been the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) of the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va.
For more information contact Northrop Grumman Mission Systems online at www.northropgrumman.com, Boeing Defense, Space & Security at www.boeing.com, or DARPA at www.darpa.mil.