Boeing has awarded a contract to advanced technologies provider Astronics to support the US Navy’s MQ-25 unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The company has not disclosed the financial details, delivery timeline, and the number of units to be provided.

Under the contract, Astronics will supply CorePower aircraft power distribution units that will replace pilot-operated, thermal mechanical breaker systems.

These solid-state switches are intelligently controlled and designed for safe performance of the UAS autonomously.

The company will also provide custom exterior lighting systems for the UAS.

Astronics president and CEO Pete Gundermann said: “Our CorePower Electronic Circuit Breaker Unit (ECBU) technology is ideally suited for use in unmanned aircraft.

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“This COTS power distribution technology will support the success of the MQ-25 programme by providing intelligent control and visibility of the on-board power systems.

“Additionally, we are proud to bring our exterior lighting expertise for military programmes to Boeing on this project.”

According to the company, its ECBU products are used to support the development of consistently distributed system and enhance reliability.

The lighting systems will support the aerial refuelling process while allowing the flight deck personnel to operate safely.

Boeing is under an $805m engineering and manufacturing development contract to provide four unmanned refuelling aircraft to the US Navy.

The MQ-25 will offer the US Navy with a carrier-based unmanned aerial refuelling capability. It completed its maiden test flight in September 2019.

Boeing MQ-25 programme director Dave Bujold said: “The MQ-25 programme is vital because it will help the US Navy to 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.”