BAE Systems has secured an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to develop an attritable air vehicle system for the US Air Force’s Skyborg program.
As part of the program, which has a contract ceiling of up to $400 million, BAE Systems will be responsible for developing a digital design for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of autonomous functions.
The Air Force’s Skyborg program aims to create a low-cost autonomous UAV that will partner with manned aircraft to increase air combat power, disrupting adversaries in contested environments.
“The need to generate combat power faster than our adversaries is critical to address near-peer threats,” Ehtisham Siddiqui, vice president and general manager of controls and avionics solutions at BAE Systems, said.
“This award will accelerate the development and deployment of manned-unmanned teaming technologies to give the US Air Force a decisive edge in the battlespace.”
The UAVs will be designed with BAE Systems’ autonomous systems, which include sensors and payloads that communicate across a shared network with manned aircraft.
According to BAE Systems, the modular and common system approach would provide the foundation for rapid updates and integration to ensure the fleet is fitted with the latest capabilities to ward emerging threats.
The prime claimed that the shared network would enable manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T), which allows UAVs and manned aircraft to collaborate and complete missions more effectively.
The network extends the reach of the fleet, while protecting the manned aircraft and personnel, while also allowing the UAVs to collect and send data from the battlespace to a manned fighter.
Written by Stephen Kuper