BAE Systems has been awarded contracts by The Boeing Company to supply the Vehicle Management Control (VMC) system and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system for the MQ-25 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The VMC system will orchestrate the management and operational control duties for the MQ-25, while the IFF system will help when operating the UAV in contested airspace, to reliably identify coalition and enemy aircraft.
“BAE Systems leads the industry in high-integrity fly-by-wire and mission-critical IFF technologies,” explains Corin Beck, director of Military Aircraft Systems at BAE Systems. “Our relationship with Boeing started more than four decades ago and has resulted in aircraft that have some of the most advanced avionics and reduced size transponders in the world.” The MQ-25 is the U.S. Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft and is designed to provide a much-needed refueling capability. The contract supports Boeing’s engineering and manufacturing development program to provide four MQ-25 aircraft to the U.S. Navy for Initial Operational Capability by 2024.
The MQ-25 is representative of a trend in U.S. armed forces towards increasing reliance on unmanned vehicles. According to Dave Bujold, Boeing’s MQ-25 program director, “The MQ-25 program is vital because it will help the U.S. Navy extend the range of the carrier air wing, and Boeing and our industry team is all-in on delivering this capability. The work we're doing is also foundational for the future of Boeing—where we’re building autonomous systems from seabed to space.”