U.S. Navy's submarine drones may be getting offensive weapons

The Orca underwater unmanned vehicle could get a new class of smart torpedo mines.


NSFW    ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND — A retired commander has proposed using the U.S. Navy's Boeing Orca underwater drone offensively in future conflicts.

According to Forbes, the Orca autonomous drone is a diesel-electric submarine with a payload bay—that could carry mines—and a control unit located in the forward section."

In a post on the US Naval Institute blog, Commander Brian Dulla says the "moorpedo" is a smart weapon that is both a torpedo and a moored or bottom mine.

The design includes an antenna, electric power propulsion, a temporary anchor, and a shaped explosive warhead with contact and proximity triggers.

The Orca drone or other platforms could lay inactive moorpedos in international waters during peacetime, which is legal under international law.

The underwater offensive drone would use its anchor to lay in wait and its antenna for receiving commands.

If the autonomous weapon receives the command to actuate, it would engage the propulsion system to redeploy against an enemy port.

The drone would also be able to attack enemy warships entering or leaving port as a mine or strike at moored ships as a slow-moving torpedo.
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