The service branch awarded separate contracts to a Boeing-Huntington Ingalls Industries team and Lockheed Martin to conduct design efforts under the first phase of the Orca Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle program.
Lance Towers, director of autonomous maritime and mission systems unit at Boeing, told LA Times the company tested its Echo Voyager off the Southern California coast to determine if the UUV could function with commercial off-the-shelf maritime equipment.
Towers added the vehicle has logged more than 1,000 hours in the ocean to date.
Echo Voyager is designed with a hybrid electric-battery/marine diesel system, a sonar, motion and rotation sensors and a global positioning system.
Boeing said the vehicle can autonomously travel at a speed of nine miles per hour to a depth of up to 11,000 feet.
The Navy will select one contractor to produce up to five ELUUVs after the design phase and expects to receive the first unit sometime in 2020, according to the report.