The Navy awarded a $42.3 million contract to Boeing and a $43.2 million contract to Lockheed in September under the initial phase of the Orca XLUUV acquisition program.
Lance Towers, director of advanced technology programs for autonomous systems at Boeing, told the publication the company will base its proposed XLUUV on its Echo Voyager autonomous underwater vehicle.
“Echo Voyager is basically an unmanned diesel-electric submarine: it uses a generator to recharge batteries when it's on the surface, and when submerged it runs off batteries,“ Towers said.
He noted that Boeing would subject Echo Voyager to another phase of underwater trials in early 2018 to further validate the vehicle's capability to function in harsh environments.
Lockheed said in a statement to USNI News that its XLUUV proposal was based on the Marlin autonomous underwater vehicle.
The Lockheed-built Marlin AUV is a 10-foot-long submersible that works to perform pipeline and subsea facility inspections as well as structural and bottom debris surveys.
The report said the two design contracts for the XLUUV program include a performance period of 15 months to be followed by a critical design review phase scheduled for December 2018.