Issue 54 Uncrewed Sytems Technology Feb/Mar 2024 uWare uOne UUV l Radio and telemetry l Rheinmetall Canada medevacs l UUVs insight DelltaHawk engine l IMU focus l Skygauge in operation l CES 2024 report l Blueflite l Hypersonic flight

56 Among the various types of uncrewed vehicles, UUVs have arguably led the race towards full autonomy, particularly in terms of durability and intelligence optimisation. Advancements in their independence and structural endurance are critical to such platforms surviving underwater for increasing stretches of time without the intervention of humans. As a result, there is a proliferation of UUV types across the various ocean markets. Large, heavy vehicles with multiple sensors and plentiful energy stores are set to carry out missions lasting months at a time for the world’s naval forces and multinational corporations. Conversely, small, short-endurance but highly affordable, easy-to-operate UUVs are now accessible for smaller research and industrial teams, such that autonomous underwater data gathering is no longer restricted to the very rich and powerful. Across all of these are new types and combinations of sensing tools, mission infrastructures, and other ancillary but critical technologies, which are vital for future exploration under the sea. Border monitoring The ongoing development of extra-large UUVs (XLUUVs) is closely linked to the growing ambitions of the world’s navies to secure long-term maritime dominance through uncrewed submarine vessels with very long endurance. As the global leader in defence spending, the US’s navy is among the frontrunners in XLUUV development programmes, with the first unit of the Orca XLUUV having been delivered by Boeing to the US Navy in December 2023, following completion of acceptance testing earlier that month. The Orca is based on Boeing’s proofof-concept Echo Voyager XLUUV, which entered design and development in 2012, and started sea testing in 2017. Measuring 51 ft (15.5 m) in length and capable of 6500 nm of range per mission through the use of a diesel-hybrid powertrain, the Echo Voyager has accumulated over 10,000 hours at sea and several hundred nautical miles of fully autonomous transit. Deep details on the Orca are guarded by the US Navy, but it is known to have been designed with a modular and open internal architecture, and specific interfaces to allow for a range of payloads, as well as future upgrades to accommodate new technologies as they are released, to facilitate the navy’s countering of evolving threats. The Orca will be capable of a top speed of 8 knots, with a 2.5 knots nominal Rory Jackson explores new advancements in expertise and autonomy for UUVs Undersea worlds February/March 2024 | Uncrewed Systems Technology The first Orca XLUUV unit has passed acceptance testing and been delivered by Boeing to the US Navy (Image courtesy of Boeing)