HII Eyes Orca Drone Submarine Production With Hydroid Acquisition

  • Our Bureau
  • 03:07 PM, February 4, 2020
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HII Eyes Orca Drone Submarine Production With Hydroid Acquisition

Huntington Ingalls Industries' $350 million acquisition of Hydroid Inc from Kongsberg will help the company build Orca extra-large unmanned undersea vehicles (XLUUVs) with Boeing, for the United States Navy.

“Hydroid’s advanced capabilities and reputation for excellence in autonomous and unmanned maritime systems provide the perfect complement to our existing unmanned operations, including Proteus in Panama City and our partnership with Boeing to produce the Orca XLUUV," said Mike Petters, HII’s president and CEO.

The announcement of the acquisition was made on Tuesday. Hydroid will become part of HII’s Technical Solutions division. The company has previously developed REMUS unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) that are used for seafloor mapping, underwater surveying, search and recovery, mine countermeasures missions by naval forces.

"The transaction is subject to regulatory review and customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. The value of the transaction is $350 million, which will be effectively reduced by tax benefits that are preliminarily valued over $50 million, to be received by HII," Huntington Ingalls said in a statement Tuesday.

Proteus is a next-generation dual-mode undersea vehicle developed by HII's Technical Solutions division (Undersea Solutions Group) and Battelle, featuring large cargo capacity to transport cargo or divers to multiple locations at long ranges. Other mission capabilities of the vehicle include inspection of undersea infrastructure, integration and testing of payload systems, installation of equipment on the ocean floor, autonomy development, and long-range and duration trials.

The US Navy plans to have four Orca XLUUVs to explore and refine future concepts of operation for underwater drones of this size, which could include gathering intelligence, emplacing or clearing naval mines, attacking other ships or submarines, conducting stand-off strikes, and more. While the contract was initially awarded to Boeing in February 2019, the company announced few days later that it is partnering with HII to work on the project.

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