BAE Systems to upgrade US Navy UAVs

March 7, 2024  - By
Image: BAE Systems

Image: BAE Systems

BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by Boeing to enhance the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling system with a modernized vehicle management system computer (VMSC). This upgrade aims to enhance the computing power of the MQ-25 and address both obsolescence issues and overall aircraft performance for future operations.

The MQ-25 — recognized as the Navy’s inaugural operational carrier-based UAV — is primarily tasked with aerial refueling capabilities designed to alleviate the burden on F/A-18 aircraft and improve the fleet’s operational flexibility.

The next-generation VMSC developed by BAE Systems is key to controlling the MQ-25’s flight surfaces and managing the vehicle. The upgrade is designed to enhance the MQ-25’s functionality and make its critical missions more efficient by consolidating hardware components into a single computer system.

The VMSC upgrade will incorporate quad-core processors, which augment the system’s computing power without increasing its size, weight, or power consumption. The selection of a multi-core processor, already qualified on another U.S. military platform, aims to mitigate cost, schedule, and integration risks associated with the MQ-25 program.

By replacing multiple onboard computers with a single VMSC, the upgrade is expected to improve aircraft reliability and decrease the total cost of ownership for the Navy. Additionally, the VMSC is designed to support the expansion of the MQ-25’s mission set, potentially including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, and to establish a foundation for future carrier-based unmanned systems through the implementation of manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) operational concepts.

The VMSC enhancement work is conducted at BAE Systems’ engineering and manufacturing facility in Endicott, New York, underscoring the company’s commitment to advancing the U.S. Navy’s unmanned aerial capabilities.

This article is tagged with , and posted in Defense, Latest News, Mobile, UAV/UGV